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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    January 11, 2013
    12:00 - 4:59pm EST  

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were not prepared for that. ongoing litigation. it was constantly, election administration was constantly embattled in a court. courts would intervene, state supreme court would make an emergency decision that secretary of state would decide whether to appeal the decision. it caused a lot of inconsistency and uneasiness going into the election not knowing how our provisional ballot would be counted, not knowing if it was a poll worker's responsibility or the voter's responsibility to fill out the provisional envelope, not knowing if we would have extended hours or weekend hours, preparing all that transcended into our budget, transcended into issues, do we have additional parking, do we get more temporaries, do we open in house voting stations, all contingent on the
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turnout. that would be at the board based on those decisions. in litigation, out comes by the secretary of state and other interested parties. early voting became a hot-button issue in ohio. that is one event. recommendations as an election administrator, the need to -- for consistent uniformity across the state that we witnessed that through many of our issues and through many other counties like i just mentioned as well as vote by mail. there needs to be some consistency, outline legislation that tells an election official how to administer the vote by mail, early voting and extend hours. another issue of 1-2 mention is the length of the ballot. a lot of problems in the county, not just cost from additional page but all the other effects it had, closing up the evening
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at the polls, reconciling three pages versus two pages, sheets of tabulation, gathering all those ballots up and putting them in the bag and bringing them down to the board of election. what do you do with them? the extra page caused us to get another supply per location. we have 1,063 precincts in the county, 423 locations. the length of the ballots is very expensive and to mail that out with a robust male program, that was difficult and a challenge for us not only to send that out and put it in an envelope, placed it appropriately in an envelope to have an appeal and get to the voter in a way that they can fill out and send it back, that it is additional cost to send back their ballot. that was one of the challenges
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we faced. i will close with two of the biggest challenges and this may be what i am speaking of next, lessons learned and advice that we need to improve upon. two of the biggest areas, managing the polling location as well as having the right polling location for the precincts. we have -- in cuyahoga county we have multiple precincts in the locations and it is difficult to pass on information from one precinct to the other and make sure you are consistent in getting it right. i think it is important that we do have one individual that can manage that location, coordinator or manager of the location that can have a checklist, make sure everything is being done properly and every precinct in the location is correctly fulfilling their obligations and following the law and regulations and regulations that are established
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and lastly, the physical layout has to be revisited. there has to the maximum number of precincts that the location can only hold and to add on with that, you have to be prepared to increase the size of the staff and machines and processes and being able to scale up for the larger locations you might have so i think that is important and one of the areas we need to address, one size doesn't fit all. we don't look at one system for every location. we need to make sure we look at the size of the location as well as management of the precinctss within the location. thank you. >> one thing i would like you to
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consider in the closing statement is advice that you would give to other jurisdictions that find themselves in a battleground state. earlier today we heard there were ten states that were identified as meeting that criteria. for some like ohio, pennsylvania, cloud ground in many ways that there were some state foot for the first time found themselves under the scrutiny you referred to particularly the third party interest group engagement. maybe one of the things you could talk about in the closing statement is advice you would give to other jurisdictions that find themselves with that designation as i battleground state. >> i would like to say to pat's
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statement, devoe -- devoe. presidential elections known through the years are very busy, busy for the staff, election offices, being a swing state, swing county, we knew we were going to have the scrutiny also, so to begin with, we plan to do additional training for our election officers, we set up summer classes, great election officers who came on a regular basis, refreshed their skills with boating equipment, electronic pole books, statement of results, forms we have to use, they came to get prepared because they knew election day was going to be extremely busy. then they came again for additional training, police officers, multiple times over
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the summer and fall in and we appreciated all-time to take the responsibility to be able to give good services to our citizens. several things that occurred prior to the election day cause administration snags. we had processes changed on us through the state board of elections, trying to assist our voters and we had to realign how we did business to accommodate additional hours for in person voting. we also had willingly very willingly change our processes to help the citizens who were going to help the folks involved in hurricane sandy. i am sorry that happened to our
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neighbors to the north but we were in that line at one point in time and thank you, we didn't have to deal with that. we wanted to do whatever we could to help the folks that came up to help you all get through that. that changed our process a little bit. i apologize. i have laryngitis. the process changed a little bit. we managed how we administered daily work. one of the things we dealt with was a different interest groups that i wanted to make sure our citizens were able to register and get their absentee ballots to the processes. we encountered -- we are at a satellite site that one of the special-interest groups came to
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us for training, set up outside and it was confusion to our voters because basically sign up at the table for voter registration and then when they would call us they had not received their notification of registration. we hadn't received their application, we have so many helpful groups that they can give to us instead of going to central area and coming back, that would cut the time down so we could process the applications and notify our voters that they had been registered. the absentee applications that went out to the voters in the mail by parties and by special interest groups, some of them had the return envelopes with that location instead of coming back to the registrar's office
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of that locality again. we are grateful for the assistance but having it go through that process delays the office getting the applications and getting them back to the voters. we would like to work on that process a little bit with the folks out there who are helping our citizens with registration and absentee voting. one of the things we encountered on election day it was accused surprise that i heard mentioned today was kerbside voting. we typically in a general election, even a presidential election have less than 200 voters outside poles. this time we had probably four times that and that takes away
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from the staffing that makes you accommodate further outside and we have learned we have to in the future to provide that service more than we have in the past, we have things we have learned about what we need to look at in the future. we are going to look at equipment and election officers in the precincts by statistics, to figure out how many voters you have and what they're voting record had been if you put more equipment and more people in that precinct. we are going to add another dimension to this and start adding demographics to our voters. testing after the election by
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going -- doing tests on voting machines that some of our precinct's the more established, they have a good steady voting record that they moved through the voting equipment between one and two minutes and focus on more transient area that did not use our equipment very often and we found it was taking between two and four minutes to go through the ballot and process through. we need to look at those types of demographics to better serve our citizens. >> thank you. >> good afternoon. i would like to thank the eac for the invitation to speak here today. i am the executive director of the chicago board of election. i have been executive director for 24 years.
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some of the items for this last election was over 75% of our registered voters voted. about 28% of those voted early, used 51 of our early voting sites. we had very minimal lines in the evening. it was in the morning, something that happened that happened in a couple elections between 6:00 in the morning and 11:00 in the afternoon or early morning, we had about 60% vote which was a huge turnout. imaginable workers setting up the equipment, opening of the door and the flood of people coming in. in the past it has always been a steady stream, big hit in the morning call loan in the afternoon, big hit in the evening. this was a big hit first thing in the morning and it surprised a lot of our poll workers.
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some items they impacted our election was redistricting. redistricting is usually completed by december of 2011. we didn't get our results or information until july of 2012. it has been two months, we were working on this redistricting. it was quite intense and we barely got it done before we started doing our mailing, million four hundred thousand registered voters, let them know what congressional wrote -- what creasing to work and polling place where it they were going to vote. that was a big impact. another item was we were charged with reducing our budget. the city hit a lot of municipalities around united states got hit with a deficit
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and we had to reduce our budget so one of the ways of reducing our budget was eliminating precincts so we went from 2,538 precincts to 2,034 precincts. we eliminated over 500 precincts which put a strain on us because that made the other precincts larger. luckily we were able to handle that. another item was proprietary election, since the president of the united states, who was from chicago, didn't have any opposition to our primary election, our turnout was about 28% of the turnout and most election officials know that the primary is temporary for the general election. we had all this people who had not voted in four years, didn't
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vote in the primary and they show up november 6th and wanted to vote and have moved twice already. these are some items that impact heavily on conducting the election. the last one was the political leaders from different parties, to extend the appointment of election judges according to state statutes, democratic party, republican party, appoint poll workers or judges election, they wanted to extend -- one party wanted to extend that which made it harder for us to train 11,000 judges in a four week period. so we were having classes going 10 or 15 classes a day for a three week period. that impact on us. overall like i said, we made it through this one. >> thank you.
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>> i am dean logan, registered county clerk for los angeles county and i want to thank eac for putting this together and putting it together so quickly after the november election. it is important to have these discussions when everything is fresh on the mind and already this morning it has been a wealth of information. much of it echoed by my colleagues on this panel. i will try not to repeat too much of that. obviously each of our jurisdictions have different characteristics and the nature of the election impact at as well. in los angeles county and more broadly in california this presidential election cycle was characterized from my perspective by four major impacts. first, which has been mentioned with redistricting, we had voters, incumbents who were familiar to them or not familiar to them on the ballot or in some cases two incumbents, both
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familiar to them on the ballot in the same contest. in california, top two primary election, our primary election fundamentally changed so in addition to having new incumbents on the ballots, we had contest where we had in the general elections, the same political party on the ballot which was new for voters, the expansion of our language requirements based on census data so l.a. county, eight additional languages other than english to we 11 languages other than english, verbal assistance -- that was an interesting challenge, and language
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categories. given the category of others not specified, and if you do some research on that that is literally hundreds of languages. and where to target those -- was certainly a challenge. the final impact in california, transition to online voter registration, we did that literally within a month and half of the november elections. we go on line with online voter applications in mid september prior to the november election and interesting data from that, we have really good data for it. an online registration if you build it they will come, we did a relatively low profile rollout in california and from the time it was turned on this which went
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on to the motor registration deadline swamped by applications and it was highly successful, but close to the election a lot of impact. also serves the demographic that in presidential years we all talked about, trying to get the 18 to 29-year-old voters, very clear the online voter registration application suggested participation and ability to get engaged in a process. you heard some of this, provisional ballots in our county and in the state of california we have -- compared to the rest of the country -- a very liberal policy about provisional ballots so very form of convenience voting in california in addition to being a fail-safe method so we have a lot of voters that when they
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registered to vote online or updated their voter registration online they check the box on the online application to become a permanent vote by mail vote, available to all voters in california. there were two impact of that. one was the time frame started in september which was also the time we were mailing out the vote for the elections so voters have updated their voter registration or become a new registered voter and indicated they want to be a permanent vote by mail voter so when they show up on election day if they have not received a vote by mail ballot the roster shows a vote by mail voter and unless they have that balance at the polling place then they must vote a provisional ballot to make sure we do that. we had a significant number of voters who did not understand they had requested a vote by mail butter online application or registered on or just before the deadline so there was not time to receive that vote by mail package so that drove up
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the provisional ballot. the good side of that story is we have historically high number of provisional ballots, 85% of provisional ballots were deemed to be valid counted in the final election, something we always emphasized in california, provisional ballots are a positive thing in terms of the way they are administered because we count the vast majority of those ballots. that leads to the point that the eight he made in the earlier panel. we also have a long period of time to certify elections and a close contest means it takes a long time to get definitive results in california. we typically have a third of the votes remaining to be counted after election day in l.a. county and that does experience a 28 they can this period so that was a phenomenon both in california and neighboring states that seem to get more attention in this election
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cycle, somewhat interesting because the media seem to treat them like a new phenomena in. it is that way in every election that seemed to get more attention in this particular election cycle. i think the story of this election from the perspective in l.a. county and california was we had a successful election and it was an example of election administrators collaborating with interest groups and stakeholders to try to address a lot of issues, some expected, some not expected and we successfully navigated those in ways we haven't always been successful at in the past. the end game story of this election cycle is there are a lot of issues on the table, issues that were identified four years ago, six years ago that we have not adequately resolved,
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have not stabilized the voting system that election equipment. we need to replace voting systems and have funding for that. part of that dialogue has to be even with the funding there aren't viable scalable systems out there to replace the current systems with. what is available out there is not from my perspective trending with the voter behavior we heard about this morning, the desire and expectation to be convenience for voting. all of those are symptoms. we did a pretty good job in 2012 of addressing those symptoms and getting through the election cycle. the expectation we are hearing is you need to do more than work around those. you need to be systematically prepared for those expectations before we get to another presidential election. >> i want to follow up with a question. you raised the criteria of convenience as an attribute of the voting system. i think i have heard that term
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mentioned at least three times in prior groups today. what strikes me is with the last large rollout of boating equipment, we heard in many cases for the first time security of voting systems and we have heard transparency of voting systems and we are now taking a fresh look at access ability of voting systems particularly dealing things with cognitive disability. do you see convenience? i don't mean that in a pejorative way, do you see convenience as moving into that set of criteria for selection of voting systems? >> i do. maybe more so than convenience. i would say options. i would say if we were to
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maintain and even increase participation in elections, we need to be consistent with the way in which the voting public participates in other activities in their lives and that is dominated by options and that goes to the issue on what is the voting period. on a single day or over a certain period of time and what the expectations are but are also think it is important to look at that in terms of on the voter side in terms of customer service delivery it is about options and convenience. on our end it is administrative the efficiency and cost effectiveness. the way we are conducting elections today and the way we conducted them on november 6th is not administratively efficient and not cost-effective. it may be affected in a broader term. we have effective election and successful election but now many of the systems we heard about, the need for poll workers training to be clear and voters
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to be a better educated. from my perspective those are systems of a system that is not designed for this kind of thing. we are asking pol workers to do more today than was ever contemplated when the idea of having a community poll workers was conceived. in my jurisdiction trying to serve 12 different languages across 4800 different polling places on election day is not a model that is sustainable. >> one last comment before i move on to don rehill, it is very valuable to have individuals like yourself who are both an election official but also a county clerk, engage in the discussion about the next generation of voting systems. for those of us to deal exclusively with voting systems we are a bit myopic at times about where we see government
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solutions going to. county clerks on the other hand, their offices are filled with applications that provide the kinds of services at a level and a cost point that their constituents are looking for beyond voting systems. i really like that perspective that you bring. as i said earlier many of us are following what you are doing with potential system and development. in part it is because of the insights that county clerks bring to that process beyond the voting perspectives. >> i would like to thank the eac for inviting me. excited to give testimony. i am deputy director of the new york city elections. everyone wants to hear about contingency plans for superstorm sandy so i will start that. upon learning of the approaching storm was developed and
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implemented a contingency plan. all polling sites were identified and their locations were reported in advance to con edison and long island power authority so any power outages were addressed prior to the election. the planned delivery of equipment and poll worker training classes had to be rescheduled in anticipation of losing access to critical computer files. senior staff made copies of all pertinent documents essential to the election upgrades, poll worker contact information and delivery schedules. backup files for essential computer services like the voter data base were brought to the disaster recovery location in the claims office. of backup e-mail system was established to assure internal communications to be maintained. aware of the potential for severe flooding on staten island, we received commission from the state of new york to
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move all boating equipment out of the facility and into the armory which was quite a feat. we were on the phone some nine at the best 9 -- 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 for approval to move the equipment. the storm hit the sunday -- hit the city on monday evening, october 29th and continued into tuesday, october 30th. ..
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that may have to be relocated due to damage, loss of power. other issues that made them unsafe or otherwise unsuitable. during this time we worked very closely with mayor bloomberg's office and the governor's staff, the board sought alternative sites which enabled voters to exercise their right to vote. thank god. in the end we moved 61 poll sites. we rescheduled deliveries, reassigned poll workers all notified voters all within less than a week of the election. election site poll locator was updated. newspaper advertisements were in place and advertised with media groups and outlets to effort to tell voters of these changes. we posted the information on our website and distributed an informational flyer in storm affected areas regarding the poll site changes. we set up shuttle transportation for your super poll sites for breezy
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point, rockaways, parts of the queens and brooklyn and staten island. since many of our poll workers were affected in these areas there were overwhelmed with their own personal recovery efforts we mobilized every resource possible to recruit replacement workers and made sure they received trained prior to election. we received a lot of help from our good government groups. they came in with hundreds of poll workers which was great. it was nice to see the mayor's office, the governor's office and everybody working together to make sure this election was successful. pam you want to talk about the executive order which was another. >> good afternoon, everyone. thank you for having the city board participate in this roundtable. dawn and i are very excited to be here and have the
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opportunity to share our experiences but also learn from the experiences from the other counties across the nation. like dawn stated i will talk a little bit about the executive order, governor cuomo's executive order, how it affected us on election day and if there's time i would also like to talk just a little bit about the redistricting process because that had an effect on us as well. expecting a larger than normal turnout for the 2012 general election the board ordered 250 affidavit ballots for each election district, which over 5 -- 5200 election districts in the city, more than 1.3 million affidavit ballots were printed. just before 5:00 p.m. on monday november fifth, the board received the governor's executive order allowing voters in new york city and four other
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designated counties to vote by affidavit ballot at any poll site in the state of new york. in response the board printed over 60,000 additional affidavit ballots in house. the board received and fulfilled over 120 requests from poll sites for additional affidavit ballots with the first request received at 8:00 a.m. on election day. to date, we have over 300,000 affidavit ballots from the november 6th general election and more affidavit ballots are still coming in, as i speak. we just was informed today that we received some more affidavit ballots from nassau county that we just received. so, there you have it. by comparison we have fewer than 190 affidavit ballots for the 2008 general election. so that will just give you an idea of how the executive
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order affected provisional balloting. not only that, i think also one of the things we experienced was, there were poll sites that were just running out of affidavit ballots and to credit these poll workers, they went above and beyond to make sure that the voters had some way of casting a ballot. some of them, if they ran out of affidavit envelope, they went to the nearest staples, used their own money and bought envelopes and put voters ballots in those envelopes. at one point there were some poll sites in brooklyn that ran out of affidavit ballots and we had no more ability to print them in time. we had to use absentee ballots. we had to get them from the borough office to the poll
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site. so i think the executive order was a good idea but to have learned about it the day before the election, 5:00 when most of our staff are being sent home because they have to be at the borough offices or at a poll site by 4:30 in the morning and sometimes 4:00 in the morning, just didn't work out well for us and then, there were a lot of news stories, i'm sure you heard, about long lines and the waits. one of the things we experienced during the night did not get to go out, we usually go out but because of all the things that were happening we were stuck in the office but one of the things that we received feedback from, government groups and elected officials about poll site management and when i was listening to the panel earlier this morning i can appreciate
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even more the importance of management queues. there were, we got stories of bottlenecks not so much at the machine but at the check-in table, the sign-in, when veters came in to sign the book. so we have a lot of lessons learned from this experience that we have already started working on, making some changes in terms of our poll worker training, the whole poll worker curriculum. we're looking at a lot of things related to how we even send out texts, our technicians ought to the poll sites. we're looking changing that process. >> i think the positive things which we did the last two years preparing for 2012, which we excited about and then the storm came, we have our ballots on the web, poll site locator, q and r code. we had informational poe sisters in the poll sites,
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when people were walking in they could scan the q and r code. look up their address. takes them to our website. would showed them which one they had to go to so they wouldn't have to wait in line. so we were all excited about all these new implementations and getting hit with the storm, you know, people were coming in that never voted at these poll sites before. i personally receiving the information at 5:00 or 4:45 the day before, when we were getting calls that same day from elected officials saying, is there an executive order coming down? we had no idea. and getting it at 5:00 put us behind the eight ball but we did what we had to do. we managed. we got in touch with the printer right away.
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although they're in rochester and affidavits were trying to get through in certain areas the truckers were coming in with affidavits. sometimes they weren't getting through because there were police stops. we had people trying to deliver and running out of gas and there was no gas stations with gasoline. so we had people running out, trying to go to official stations where we could get gas, trying to fill up the trucks to get the affidavits out for the poll sites. all in all we got through it and there were some lessons learned. i think we had a, we did, with our registrations we had 642,460 registrations for 2012. but in the period between 9/14 and 10/13, 297,290 registrations came in. what we did was higher a
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outside agency. so we had our staff working from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and this outside agency worked from 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the morning. we processed every registration. however lessons learned i would have kept the agency, the outside agency on to help with the absentees because they came flooding in at the last minute. what we did was, in manhattan, they lost our manhattan facility lost their power. so we moved their absentee to their voting machine facility in staten island they were completely had no office up until the day of the election. on wednesday and thursday and friday they were actually doing absentees out of the van in front of the office, running up with them and rep to clock in with a battery backup, for the stamp machine. so we tried to keep things
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moving as best we could but i know staten island and brooklyn and manhattan. >> and queens. >> well, queens, got i think all their absentees out but manhattan and staten island, i'm sure there were people that did not receive their absentee ballots due to the storm. >> unintended circumstances merle refers to quite frequently. i think you all are to be commanded with the job you did do in the circumstances you were working under. no doubt about that. >> we couldn't have done it without the new york city police department [applause] thanks. the new york city police department, the mayor's office, the governor's office, league of women voters, election protection, everybody came together for us and we're so appreciatetive. >> there were some first-responders who did not live in new york state that came to help and my only feeling bad about that was that we were told that there were some first-responders that wanted to vote in new
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york state and because, as you we all know, our election laws are not that flexible, they could not. and there were some of them that did, because we saw the affidavit ballots and they couldn't be counted. >> yeah. >> that was, the downside of, one of the downsides of this. >> okay. >> do we have time to a little bit? >> we're going to come back because i think there are several questions we with like to drill down a little bit on the experience that you had. and mostly to talk about, maybe some ways which your experiences can be disseminated to other jurisdictions to that they can have the benefit of those lessons learned that you referred to. let's pick up with mark. then we'll come back around. >>, that is a tough act to follow. my name is mark. i'm elections manager from
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allegheny officer from allegheny county, pennsylvania. we're located in western pennsylvania. our count is pittsburgh. likely when we have 190,000 registered voters, 319 precincts, subdivided into 850 different voting locations. we have a 130 municipalities, 45 school districts. local court, mine nor claims court jurisdictions. we are one of the few states that a portion of the local poll worker, the district election board is elected. there is the possibility that a judge and a majority and a minority inspector of elections can be elected in each precinct. so in the four-year election cycle we certify over 25,000 separate contests because many of ours run by precinct. the main administrative issue we saw in 2012 was one that didn't happen on
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election day. and by that i mean is that the state legislature at the beginning of 2012 passed a somewhat restrictive photo voter i.d. law that was to take full effect in the presidential election and was in place at the primary election but it was characterized to be a soft rollout where it wasn't required. it was just requested. the idea requirements -- i.d. requirements in pennsylvania it must be government issued. it must have a photograph and it basically is your driver's license, a passport, a local government issued picture i.d., or a state i.d. from an accredited state institution. and that's it. if you don't have that, you are going to be required to vote a provisional ballot on election day. the difficulty thing in the training we saw it was only requested at the primary
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election rand only 20% of the registered voters showed up and voted. we knew the bulk the people that issue we were going to have was going to be the presidential election when obviously the turnout is highest. we had about a 70% turnout which translates into 630,000 registered voters. and it's interesting listening to these larger jurisdictions, pennsylvania does not have early voting. we don't have no-fault absentee voting. so, you know, out of the 630,000 people that voted in allegheny on election day, only 5% of them voted early. 95% of them voted in person on election day. so as a result of this, this, the law that was passed it was immediately challenged. made its way through the courts, through the common law of court to the supreme court, back to the common law of court and all this time we had to prepare if we were going to have a full-blown photo i.d. requirements for the november election. which means all the election
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administrators are now changing all the forms that you hang up at the polling place, doing all this, we scheduled, dedicated training just for voter i.d. and provisional ballot training because we expected many voters would show up without it because the estimates were that up to 10% of the religion sterd voters in pennsylvania were not going to have the required form of voter i.d. on election day, and would have to vote provisionally. we found out, common law of court issued its ruling on october 2nd which was, what, five weeks before the election. coincidentally it was the first day we scheduled our photo voter i.d. training for election officials. so we went through with the process. a little difficult to train your poll workers for something that may be in effect six months from now. may be in effect a year from now. but the way the law stand right now it will probably be in effect for this coming primary. we don't know that yet. we trained about 4200
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election officers out of the relatively, about 5000 that are required to attend training in pennsylvania. and, it was a success because we were able to reinforce the provisions for provisional ballot voting because as we have heard before, just relatively complicated process filling out all the paperwork. the last thing you don't want to happen is for a voter's vote not to count because an election official didn't sign off on an envelope. another issue that we saw that was surprising to me that even though we doubled the amount of phone lines and staff on election day, was the incredible amount of phone calls that we received on election day from voters. the state, over the summer did a mailing to about 1 hundred,000 voters in allegheny county they may have have an issue with their voter i.d. on election
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day. so to can't their county board to verify they would be able to vote on election day. we had about a five-fold increase of voters who called to verify that their first and last name matched on the driver's license versus their first and last name on the voter rolls. that became a point of many controversy what substantially conform is. the phone never stopped from july until september. as soon as you hung the phone up it was another voter calling worried they would have to cast a provisional ballot on election day. as a result, we doubled, we had to order double the amount of provisional ballots supplies. we doubled the amount of provisional ballots. we doubled the amount of provisional ballot receipts and luckily we only had 3800 provisional ballots on election day. so, it wasn't on nonevent or wasn't on issue but that is the kind of event you would like to have.
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in terms of our voting equipment, we had relatively few issues with it. we had a couple reports of vote jumping, which is a funny thing because if the system truly was jumping your vote the system wouldn't tell you the person you touched the screen for doesn't show up on your review screen. those are calibration issues. i think we only had two of those. and luckily, our election day went remarkably well. it's the first time, i've been there since 1970. i've been the elections director since 1991. i think this is the first time i can recall we weren't a swing state. the difference, not being a swing state is incredible. it is so much easier to conduct your election when you don't have the local media, you know, wanting to do a story every day, the national media wanting to do a story every day. all the advocacy groups, all the candidate groups. it's, it's just so much
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easier. you should all experience it, both ways, i'll tell you that. and, i guess the other issue that i heard and we are seeing is that the average age of our poll workers in allegheny county is 65 years of age. although we had a lot of people volunteer this time to be a poll worker based upon, you know, the high turnout, i suspect next primary we will get very few requests from anyone to want to be a poll worker that isn't a poll worker. you know, the high-profile election, everybody wants to be involved. i suspect next primary we'll go back to our 20, 25% turnout. and people will be complaining that we have too many districts and too much voting equipment and look at all the money we're wasting that is not being used. i don't think the general public understands, it is really difficult to design a system that is able to accommodate 80% of the people showing up on one day, and six months later, be
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economical to accommodate the 20% turnout that you have. people just don't understand that. and i don't think we do a very good job of educating people about that as well. so, that's about all that i have. >> okay. thank you. i'd like to ask a question of our colleagues from new york about, if you will, the lessons learned. every jurisdiction prepares for contingencies with the fervent hope they won't be used and one of the things that we know about i-t-related disasters in general but elections in particular, is that they're incredibly human intensive events, is that very little of it is automated. most of it requires eyes on, hands on, and what we know in natural disasters people
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go home and so the notion of commanding a large staff of individuals through an extended, protracted natural disaster is really a management challenge. but if you could talk about some of the things in your contingency plan that worked as good as you had hoped, and then maybe some other things that you had not anticipated, or, you didn't anticipate by scale or difficulty. >> one of the frustrations for me, the biggest frustration, was that, we had, we had in some of our voting machines facilities backup generators. our biggest problem was in the buildings our contact information, they couldn't tell us what kind of generators we needed for those buildings, who had,
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who had the specs, who doesn't have the specs. it was a run around. one of the lessons learned and we're still dealing, i mean we have five borough offices, five voting machine facilities and an executive office. so what we did right after the general election, lessons learned, is our facilities manager is meeting with everyone of the contacts, the building management it make sure we have the specs, what kind of generators, what kind of kilowatts, so we don't go through that again. i mean we wasted, almost two days, almost two days with one of the facilities. we gave up on manhattan and took everything we could out and moved someplace else. and, you know, new york city was, we were trying to hold an election. i know other people were concerned, there was a lot going on, but, just to have
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that information at our fingerprints would have saved us a lot of time. >> yeah we needed that so we could give that information to the government office, the city office. they were trying to help us get generators but they needed number of kilowatts and all this voltage and we had none of that information. we had none of it. i mean we had to spend days trying to track down one of the managers of, building managers so we could contact him. our person to contact him so he could get in contact who he needed to contact so we could get that information. that is a lesson learned and i think something that, you know we want to share with everyone. that information is critical to have it at hand. >> and i think persistence, i know too with the, you know, we knew, our staten island voting machine facility and office is right
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on the water and it, i was just persistent. i was not giving up. i mean they were not giving us the okay. you knew, you know the storm is coming and i'm telling you we need to get this equipment out. we need to get it to the armory and move it and, just the red tape back and forth, you know, with homeland security and, well, there has been a change in shift now and you need to give me the information all over again and honestly i did not get a response. it was 7:00 in the morning and there was no response and we had truckers on call, and i just, e-mailed them, said my truckers are at the facility. they're taking the equipment. and they will be at the armory. i hope somebody is there to open the door. 20 minutes later, we got the okay to move the equipment. so, you know, just, you have to be persistent. i know that working with some of these agencies, we
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were promised the world for the first three days and that started to dwindle as time went on. so, like i said, we were thankful to the good government groups that came to help. i think what saved us, what i think is important, because we all have our computers and everything is on computers. we're so reliant on this, and, i think, by having all of our borough offices print out all this information, was a godsend. mayor bloomberg opened oem for us. we were able to go in with information showing poll sites, amount of voters. you know, we had everything printed out so doing that saved us as well because all of our systems went down. >> okay. >> one of the lessons learned, i just have to share this, with the redistricting process was that, you know, we had two redistrictings.
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we had one for the congressional. we got the lines on the 20th. march 20th was the first day to start circulating petitions for the federal primary. okay? so keep with me if you can. so march 20th we got the lines. march 20th is the first day for people who were running for congress to start circulating petitions. so you can man the kind of calls we were getting because they wanted to know what their lines was. during that process we were also preparing, we were conducting, we were finishing up -- >> march 20th was a special election in brooklyn as well. >> march 20th was also a special state senate election in brooklyn because there was unexpected vacancy. so we were working on that. and then, june 26th, which was the federal elections, we were also set up for preparing for the
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petitioning process for the september primary for state senate and state assembly. so we had dual systems, that we had running, registration systems, because if you wanted to register in, for the federal election, you had a different congressional edad than you would have if you were going to be in voting in the primary. so all these dueling systems and dueling events that we were dealing with at the same time created a situation where we had staffing issues. our staffing, our staff was working from 9:00 to 5:00. some of them were working until midnight. this process was continuous throughout, i would say,
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maybe february. >> started in february. >> seven days a week. 9:00 to 9:00. in some instances 9:00 to midnight. and then there was one time when we were doing the processing of the registration forms for the general election where we had two shifts for one borough. we had a 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. shift and we had a 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. shift. and in order to get all of this done. one of the lessonswer learned for the federal election, we sent out poll site changes only to voters whose poll site changed. if there was a poll site changed that voter new their new poll site they were good to go. not anticipating, yes, i'm at the same poll site. i vote for charlie rangel about. he is not on the ballot. there is something going on. what is the board doing now?
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what tricks are the board up to now? so we got inundated with calls, you know, my congressman is not on the ballot. they're giving me the wrong ballot. we spent a lot of time on that day dealing with those kind of calls. >> conspiracy theories. >> and conspiracy theories opposed being able to address some more substantial poll site problem issues. but for us i was like, in hindsight if i had to do it all over again we should have, and this is important lesson learned -- >> sent mailings . .
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>> the people in this room are the exception to the rule, given our long tenure in elections. most of her colleagues, this was their first redistricting election. the next time we have redistricting it will be their first. catching this institutional knowledge about just what you have relayed i think becomes extremely important in our professional obligation to our colleagues of sharing those experiences. i hope you not only continue to tell the story powerful narrative of what you all accomplished, but that it eventually becomes memorialized in the way so that it can be shared and become part of a curriculum for training election
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officials. i have one question i want to ask a larger crew. no, and then i think we will be about time to start our summary. in the sessions we had this morning when we heard from poll managers and coworkers and also from researchers and advocacy groups, the issue of poll working training came up frequently, and it came up again here today. we have many metrics that we use for the discussion of poll worker training. we will talk about the number of hours that we require. we talk about when that training is provided. but we very rarely talk about how we measure the effectiveness of that training, rather than anecdotally. that is, if your election went well, therefore, it must have been because of the training. many of us suspect that there
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may be a very loose connection sometimes between the. so i'd like to ask this group about your perspective on poll worker training. how do you measure its effectiveness? how do you develop the curriculum? how do you ensure that the curriculum is fresh and is mapping to what will be the real needs of the voters as they come into the precinct? >> we have a mandatory four-hour training of poll workers, and after that we have them all take a test. and if they do not pass the test, we thank them for their time and won't assign them. we still pay them for coming in to taking the class. so we do offer $50 for training class, but it is for four hours. what we've done is to back up the poll worker training. we have what we call is a
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polling place pda or polling place administrator polling place administrator where we have made the mobile know what to do for our five precincts where they have had several days training on equipment, procedures and they can go in and help of poll workers if they see me tell. they roam from precinct to precinct to each of five or seven precincts that they visit. that seems to work out very well this election. it's just that, you know, these bodies when you of all the people showing up at one time, first thing in the morning they are bouncing from polling place to polling place. they got a real workout. >> prince william, we have about a four hour, two and a half, three hour, sometimes for our training class for the major groups, but we also like i said earlier we hold programs. we do special going on our electronic poll books, which is several hours. we provide one for the voting
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machine. my talented staff has put together some web-based training lasses and the officers have been appreciative of that. we do a survey, it's called the election night midnight survey, and we send it out to our chiefs, insisting chiefs i believe, and they respond back what went well, you know, what do we need to improve on. how did your training get you through the day? and what do you see that we need to emphasize? and so we work with the chief officers, and then again with the regular officers during the day, and we collect data for them to improve our training, so each election we hope that that it proves. our election officers, we had a meeting with him this past monday night with the chiefs and
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ao's. they have nothing but great things to say about our training staff, and they felt that the training got into the day even though they have long lines and have a lot to deal with. voters have sent our election officers were very nice to work with under the circumstances they did a great job. so apparently we have done something right. we want to keep improving and keep moving forward. >> i would just like to add, we do have the same requirements that are mandated with the four hours of training, but we also are mandated after the election then to do a performance assessment on all the poll workers. there is a scoring system so they have to need a scoring system to be retained or rehired as a poll worker. it's 27 different criteria, from anything do they open a polling
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location on time, did they give out the right ballot, did they provide the right support for the provisional voter, a litany of different things and criteria that they have to be able to have done correctly to make the certain level of grade in the performance review. it's tough to be a poll worker. i mean, it's one day a year, maybe two days a year we require them for hours training as well as the night before the election they have to attend an organizational meeting, basically giving to the location, doing inventory on the supply, set up the machines, block it all down and then be there the next day at 5:30 a.m. for potentially a 17 hour shift. so we don't pay them much, and would ask a great deal of them. so i just wanted to add that. >> one thing, we've all done that, but the question is are the able to retain and implement
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what they have been trained to do. performing on election day as a whole mother aspect of this training mechanism that comes forward. so the fact that you assess and they have to perform in order to be invited back is also something we need to be considered up as well. >> one last comment and then we will start our summary. >> we employed similar mechanisms in l.a. county. we do and expect report card after the election that usually focus on six to eight particular portions of the election were we providing feedback about how things went, whether they were successful, and that's with the idea that we're going to retain these people to come back again. would also require the inspectors, the training to take our online training component and to get a passing score in order to maintain the position as inspector. with the need for 28,000 poll workers, generally we still let them work. just not -- [laughter] just as the inspector.
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but i think to alice's point and points that were made earlier today, i think this is a critical component for future discussion because if you're going to employ, if you're going to get some adult education expertise in terms of how you develop the curriculum, how you present the training, and if you're going to develop effective online curriculum, there's the cost of that. and it's a cost that is very worthwhile in terms of its delivery. it's not a cost that you can stay in -- sustained from one election to the next. all the rules are changed. it doesn't a lot of good to create a great video training on voter id law that is thrown out the week before the election. that's part of the difficulty with the training element. if we try to retain the same people, bring them back, they don't do it frequently, and every time we are rewriting the manual and rewriting the training books. so it's a challenge. >> excellent point. mark, if we could start with
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you. let's take about a minute to summarize what you think the most salient points that we have talked about here with this group. and what advice can what priorities that she would advise for your colleagues from eac to consider as we go forward. >> i think what we have already -- the difficulty that we have in training, recruiting, measuring the performance of poll workers. and you know, we can do as much as we can ahead of time administratively but we hand that's the case of election supplies off, i mean, it's basically out of our hands. we are totally reliant on those people. as dean said, there's only changes in law over the last 10 years, there was never provisional ballots, sales -- the process because republican every election. i think that's a difficult thing. and also to be more flexible,
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more creative and being able to send out supplies are people on election day. we don't -- we're pretty traditional county, l.a. county come in pennsylvania. some of the things that i heard other counties did, pretty good idea in order to help the lines on election day. those kinds of things that typically we haven't been faced with lately. >> thank you, mark. >> well, i think one of the things, some of things i've heard today is continuing miss of poll worker training. very important, it's crucial. it's a crucial element to what we do. because that's when, that's our debut with the voting process. we've got to get it right. we don't get to reschedule. we've got to get it right i think that's important.
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i think the, being flexible, having people around you that can think outside of the box that are not afraid to take chances, that we have to embrace the technology that's out there. i think these kind of roundtables are helpful so that you can see your colleagues of course, and learn from one another through these kind of roundtables discussions. but one of the things i also think is important that i have a pet peeve, personally with the city of new york, is the funding and with the legislature, with -- i don't mind if they change the legislation. i think we should have input into quite frankly there's a lot of the legislation that has to be changed because it's not, it's no longer in tune with the technology. so they have to change that legislature. what i have a problem with is
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when i -- might agency constantly goes to our funders, the city of new york and the city council, and we are chronically underfunded. when you change the legislation that creates more work, more task, that requires more staffing to get the work done, and there's no funding behind it. it's called an unfunded -- unfunded mandate. that's what we call. and that's been one of our biggest problems in the city of new york. >> thank you. dawn? >> i heard a few things here today that i am deathly taking back. and one of them was the senior service center. i thought that was excellent. and i think it's something that we wanted to assess when we go back. one of the major issues everybody book about training, but also the recruitment.
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we did recruitment for two years. we started in 2011 into 2012 to be prepared for the presidential, and 27,000, we received 27,000 applications. that's a lot. out of the 27,000 applications, by the time its process and into the system, we walked away with maybe 2800 new poll workers. so you look at the effort that was put in and the overtime in going to all these events to recruit, and you're saying, is it worth it? this is something that we discussed at our city council hearings. they need to raise the salary for poll workers. they are there at 5:00 in the morning now, and some of them don't walk out the door until 12:00, 1:00 in the morning, 2:00 in the morning. they are hit with so much more
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responsibility come and we have a lot of good poll workers that are walking away. they don't want to do it. and you know, they also, you know, it a bad rap sometimes. everybody wants to blame for poll worker. and they put in all those hours and they deserve, you know, an increase. but that's another issue. we don't mind, we want change. we want to see things better, but with that you also have to give us the staff to do it. we rolled out the new voting machines in 2010. we have an eds department, electronic voting systems unit in the general office. well, there should be one in every borough office. we are literally taking staff, okay, you from poll workers, you, time to reduce. there needs to be an evs the
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unit in every borough office, and we can be starting analysis right after the election because these people are dedicated to that. not that they're doing poll worker payroll or absentee. so a lot of it is budget, and we need more staff to get this work done. poll worker recruitment and definitely poll worker training. i listened to everybody, and this is one of our goals this year is poll worker training. we are looking to try to change our manuals, to a troubleshooting guide. because we feel like something has to give. it's quite difficult, and i'm interested in talking to dean after this is over, but we have a six-hour exam your a six-hour training plus an exam that they have to take.
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and we still have the same issues at the polling place. >> thank you, dawn. dean? >> i guess my hope is that, over the next year or two we can try to move to a broader perspective of looking at what is the future of elections going to look like in the country, rather than simply trying to patch the leaks from the last election or last three elections in some cases. i think we've demonstrated as a profession that we are pretty good. pretty good at past -- patching leaks and then getting through experiences. we heard the herculean efforts that took place in bonds to hurricane sandy. we have seen how jurisdictions have dealt with a change in legislation in the last minute and the variances in our voting systems over the last few years. but i think what we need to do is to define where it is we're trying to get in the future, and
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begin to build coalition. we've got some great examples again from the experience in new york and new jersey as well some work we've done in california that there is a willingness to collaborate amongst stakeholders groups, hamas election protection, the league of women voters, language assistant groups, disability groups. if we can come together and define the buddha the problem and define where we want to be in the future so that we know when we're developing voting systems what standards those voting systems in the future need to be built for. so we know when we're trying to decide how to deal with the long lines, have we actually asked a question about whether not people should be in line at all. and those types of things. and two examples, kind of issues that i think are on the horizon that had very little discussion, well, what has it more discussion any of the but for those of us who do significant
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amount of vote by mail, the changing nature of the postal service system we have to address. vote by mail has been incredibly successful. certainly on the west coast, but it's been successful because it's been intuitive because voters are used to getting their mail. but that's a generational thing. the next generation of voters are not used to using the mail, and there may not be mail in the future. or shortly may not be mail six days a week, and that type of thing. we need to prepare for that, especially those of us of over 1 million of our voters were signed up to automatically see their ballots by mail and receive their sample ballots by mail. the other one that i think it's one that is kind of hiding in the background, is our reliance on signatures as a form of validation and verification can whether the nominating traditions balance, you name it. the reality is that they're not teaching penmanship in school anymore, and signatures are not
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going to be a reliable source of verification. there's only places in our process where we rely on the signature as the means of validation or confirmation. and at least in circles i've been interest been very little discussion about what can replace that and what can take the place. so i hope we can look at some of those bigger and broader issues rather than simply trying to put duct tape on a system that we have been sustaining for 15-20 years. >> thank you. now, about 30 seconds each if we could. lance. >> okay, 30 seconds. i agree with dean, but into we have an actual meltdown on the election i don't think things are going to change. elected officials have always been elected this way, and they've always counted on this. until we have an actual meltdown on election i don't think, which is really sad to see any major changes. [inaudible] >> yeah, that sort of thing. >> thank you so much, dean.
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>> i think i may soften lances description. until we stop working the miracles in the way that we have in the past, and maybe that's another way of saying meltdown, but i think that's really how it works. >> well, i would like to see where we try to provide streamlined system for our voters that's convenient, again as has been mentioned before. more in tuned to how our generation, different generations move forward that way. and incorporate style of living with our voting. so it's up to date. >> thank you, betty. >> i would just like to end with some advice in the swing states.
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move. [laughter] and you guys were almost there. for one week pennsylvania was in play. anyway, with that being said i think you need to work with policymakers to resolve any controversial issues that a party driven that will affect the training of their poll workers and the administration of the election. we can't wait for the last moment for some of these major issues to be decided. we need to include third parties in the process, the transparent and open for their input. seek opportunities where they can provide input in a meaningful exchange of information. i think we need to organize our effort for the media, control the message and drive it, drive the stores, don't let them be chasing you after the story. you come up with a story. i think we need to brainstorm with our partners out there in the community, a elected official. to look at all the contingencies
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in place for when get inundated with an onslaught of elected officials, politicians, or surrogates as they're coming for your area across the state. lastly i would just like to add that i have not heard here today, we too often blame ourselves and the poll workers and the training, but i think there needs to be a level of responsibility put on the voter. there needs to be some personal responsibility that we promote out there, if psas or pay media is basically that they have a responsibility to update the voter registration. they have a responsibility to change the name if there's a name change. they need to know or search out and seek, where do they go and vote. they have to make those kind of decisions to understand the candidates on the issues come and bring a proper id that is required to the point location. so i think it's a partnership
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between us and the poll workers, as well as the voters out there. thank you. >> i am going to be quick because i know we are out of time. i just want to again thank you all for herculean efforts as dean said is not only from the state of new york and new jersey but by all the. so we appreciate it. you are miracle workers. thank you again. >> okay, thank you, alice. and for everybody who participate anybody who joined us on the webcast, thank you. specs a news report. john boehner has invited president obama to deliver the state of the union speech on february 12. a little bit later this you the clash of the state of union happen on january 24. in a letter today speaker boehner says quote our nation faces immense challenges. the american people expect us to work together in the new year to find meaningful solutions.
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this will require a willingness to seek common ground as well as presidential leadership. and for that reason the congress of the nation would welcome an opportunity to hear your plan for specific solutions for addressing america's great challenges. you will find live coverage of the speech on c-span network. afghan president karzai is in washington today. he met with president obama this morning. this evening at 5:30 p.m. he will speak at georgetown university in washington and relations between afghanistan's and the u.s. c-span will have live coverage. again that will start at 5:30 p.m. eastern. >> hollywood's most famous movie stars lead the film capital to help the government to sell more bonds. irene dunne, ronald colman, hedy lamarr, all part of a contingent of some 50 screen celebrities giving their time and talent to lead the national war effort. >> what we want to look at the
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day as how popular culture presented the war. how was it presented and movies from the 1940s? how was it presented in comic books from the 1940s. how was it presented in athletic events from the 1930s and 1940s? how was it presented intent and alleys in music from the 1940s? >> this weekend on american history tv popular culture and world war ii, with purdue university professor randy roberts. lectures in history saturday night at eight and 10 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> the election commission, new jersey election director described his states efforts to prepare for and deal with hurricane sandy. the commission was created after the 2000 presidential election to help america vote act.
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this is about an hour 40 minutes. >> thank you, and welcome back. we've just been given a high sign we're back on live and want to welcome all the folks who are joining us on the webcast at www.eac.gov, as was said -- c-span.org. welcome to the final session in today's roundtable discussions on conforming change, kind of lessons learned from the 2012 election cycle. our last panel today consists of state election officials, doug lewis from the executive director of the election center, title very similar to my own, kind of confusing, but doug certainly has both state and
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national perspective. that's really what we want to do in the final session today. we started out this morning looking at the election issues from the perspective of poll workers and the poll managers. we then worked up through advocacy groups, research organizations, up through local election officials. and now what we wanted is to look at many of those same issues i suspect that look at it from the state perspective, from that larger aggregated perspective where sometimes you can see context of activities that can appear isolated and disjoint at the precinct or county level. so to that end i'm going to ask bob to begin, and to introduce yourself, your organization, a little bit of your experience in elections perhaps, and then share with the group your insights into the issues of the
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2012 election cycle. and particularly connections that you can make between the symptoms of what we saw, perhaps long lines. but more importantly the causation of those issues. and hopefully we will continue to connect those dots as we begin to look forward for policy and procedural changes in subsequent elections. as we go around the table than at the very end when we summarize, we will begin with doug and work backwards. up, it would its are with you. >> thank you. i want to thank eac for having me here today. a little bit about myself, i was accounting elected official from 1995 until 2008. in 2008 i became the director of the new jersey division of elections while i was with the county. i was an investigator, a voting machine technician, assistant supervisor and supervisor.
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so i'd like to think i bring a good county perspective to the state when we make decisions at the state level that my experience allows me to take into consideration what the counties have to do, and has new york explained earlier in the earlier session, that the decisions we make at state level have a definite impact. and we for the planet if we don't have a good team, that can execute the plan then it doesn't happen. so new york a fantastic job with their election. i want to say kudos to them. and i'd like to just thank my colleagues around the country for all of their support through this difficult time. it was nice to know, and hear from friends, you know, in states like illinois and washington that, you know, they had us in their prayers and really were thinking about us and it was nice to hear a kind word and have good support from
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them. so what i think i'm going to do today if it's okay just a high level, similar to what new york did in the last session, a high level overview of what new jersey went through, sort of a timeline, so maybe everybody can have it understanding this is why we made certain decisions and things that we did do. so, friday october 26, knowing the storm is coming but not knowing where it was going to hit was a very difficult for all the states, now, in the mid-atlantic region. so one of the things we did at state election directors, we get together and actually had a conference call with louisiana and mississippi to discuss their experiences with hurricanes and having elections after hurricanes and trying to get as much insight as we could from them, and they were excuse me helpful in helping us to develop a quick plan -- extremely helpful. after those calls, i had
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conference calls with county election officials and startling of the plants we need to get in place statewide so everybody was on the same page. unfortunately, there's only so much we could de's only so much we could do not knowing where the storm is going to hit at that point. so a lot of what we were doing, contingencies and he was going to be impacted and who wasn't. so unfortunately became a waiting game after that. so we also on the 26th got a list of all of our polling places to our state board of public utility so they could get that out of all the utility companies, get us on the list to prioritize the polling places as locations to get power back on after the storm. so that was very helpful to get that out and get that out in front so that when they were putting together the team to way they were going to send crews to
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get power back on, they were unaware of where we need help immediately. so like i said there was a lot we could do over the weekend, and then the storm hit, and then october 30 we conduct a conference call with the counties to begin the assessment of damage process. we had them reach out to the municipalities, also to the local town clerks, find out what polling places were still going to be available, who had power, what polling places were damaged. so that process began on the 30th. then on wednesday, the 31st, based on the information we were receiving of the state of from the counties would begin to put together a plan of action that we could implement statewide. then on thursday, november 1, the state released the first of six directives, which they were given the authority under second order 104 to issue these directives.
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the first one was to extend the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot by mail from tuesday october 30 tough friday novemb november 2. and just for point of reference, we call our absentee ballots mailed in ballots to we no longer call them absentee ballots, but by reference mail-in ballots is civic to the absentee ballots in other states. we also directed at all election offices be open a minimum at 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. to allow voters to walking and getting mail in ballot, then returned and that they. we also relax a lot of individual could pick up and deliver 10 mail in ballots to voters. basically in new jersey we have a law that you can be a messenger and pick up a ballot for a voter, return it to them but we had a limit of 10 per person. so we relaxed that for
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individuals designated by the state or county election offices so they could assist in getting ballots to voters who were displaced in living in shelters. there were no limits put on these people that were designated by either the state or the county. this directive also waive the requirements that a poll worker have to in the county where they worked. they were so many displaced people that there was a concern some of the lethargic counties might not have enough coworkers. they could use poll workers from a neighboring county to neighboring county the robbery trained. we're fortunate in new jersey that 19, 18 of our county seats you same voting machines so we could swap poll workers in and out from county to county. this directive also waive the requirement that a waiver from the state is required to move a polling place more than 1000 feet from the boundary line of an election district or precinct. this gave the county the flexibly define polling places especially in cases where people
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were not even allowed in their towns, such as the barrier island. those towns are completely off limits. so in this case is they have to find polling places in other towns on the other side of the bridge for people to vote. on friday november 2, it was at this point there were still 900 of new jersey's 3500 polling places were not available, either due to loss of power or damage. and he became very real to us that they were going to be funny and moving polling places right up to the last the so the state began to really push the availability of a text into we've been working on for voters to find a polling places. and basically the pe pew centers a project of voting information project that the states provide them with a polling place information. and they provided information out so they can be put on apps come on phones, on websites. and the one we were particularly
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interest in mobile, created a texting to a we thought that was the easiest way to get information to our voters, just simply dial 877, 877 with the word where. it will as we address and it will send you back your polling place. so if you need a fancy outcome agency to text that and we really felt that was going to be a very valuable tool for us to use knowing that polling places were going to constantly be changing. and on saturday november 3, state issued three more directives. allowing displaced voters to vote by fax or e-mail the semi-military and overseas voters are allowed to. basically this was in response to hundreds of e-mails and phone calls we received from displaced voters, whether they were in pennsylvania, new york, connecticut. it was too late for them to get
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a ballot by mail. there was no way they were going to be up to get back into the state, or they have nowhere to return to. i think one of the comments that really hit home with everybody, a gentleman basically said i've lost my house, please don't let me lose my right to vote. so that was something that we took to heart and really did what was necessary to give these people the opportunity to vote. with that, the state also extend the deadline to apply for fax or e-mail at fighting election he would return deadline of 8 p.m. on election day. in this directive the state also extend the deadline to receive mail in ballots from november 6 to november 19, as long as the ballots were postmarked by november 50 this was in response to send the application deadline earlier, and the fact that there was definite interaction in postal service from the storm. the next directive was realizing
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not everyone would have e-mail access to the state come on out displaced voters to vote at any place in the state, and basically at least guarantee them to have their votes for president, u.s. senate and the state questions counted. we also in that directive said if there were any other comments, ballots, those would be counted as well in the other eligible office. so if you move from county to county but to county which to county but you're still in the same congressional district, he would catch a congressional. if you just happened to move from one town to the other, we would counter county races as well. it was all dependent on where you voted in the state. we took that into account when we counted your ballot so you would be eligible for as many races as possible. the next directive was an effort to notify as many voters as possible accounts were directed to provide notification to voters about changes, polling place location by using county websites, reverse 911, tsa
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announces, newspaper notices and posting notices of all at all unavailable polling places informing voters of the new location provided it was safe to do so. and in a lot of cases they couldn't even get into the town so that was not possible in those situations. and on sunday november 4 we begin a series of conference calls with advocates and interested parties to ensure they were all informed that we are all on same page. this was an important partnership in assisting the stake him in getting the correct information out to the voters. this group include the aclu, the league of women voters, disability rights new jersey, the center for public interest. we work with those groups on a regular basis, and so it was nice to bring them in once we had an idea of what direction we wanted to go as a state. and they were extremely helpful in word out, advising us on any issues that they were coming
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across. we're in constant contact with into the election. saw want to thank them and their effort through this process. than monday, november 5, by the end of the day all polling places were established without the need for mobile phoning needs or tense. counties were able to do this through the use of generators and are moving and consolidating polling places where necessary. a statewide voter registration system was updated and a final file was sent to the voting information project team for use with a texting till and website. so a phenomenal job by the county election officials getting polling places up and running, finding alternate polling places and just really doing a young task to get that done. and on election day, november 6, due to the remarkable response by voters duty vote by fax or e-mail, it became apparent that
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even after to miss ever by the county clerk they would not be able to process all the applications in time to meet the deadline so the state issued a fifth directive. the deadline to submit an application by fax or e-mail remained the same but the county clerk's were given until 12 p.m. on november 9 to issue these ballots. and the voters were given into 8 p.m. on november 9 to return the ballots by fax or e-mail. the thought process that there was if you're in line on election night at 8:00 and the polls close, you still get to vote. so the thought she was if your e-mail or fax ballot request was into the county clerk by the deadline that you should be treated no different than standing in line so the states would be extended to give the county clerk the ability to get ballots out to all of our displaced voters. the county board of elections were directed to count these ballots in the same manner as a provisional ballot to ensure the
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voters did not cast a ballot at a polling place or submit any other paper ballot. postelection on friday, novemb november 9, a six directive was issued extending the deadline for the counties in december 11. for the state december 11, was selected because that was the deadline to notify the winner of the electoral college so we couldn't go on that day. so everything worked backwards from there. and also as a result of these extensions, the deadline's request a recount or file an election contest were also extended. so that was our overall high level timeline of what we did. and a couple of things outside of that, that i just want to comment on, a texting till i spoke about. in new jersey we had 138,710 hits on that texting tool. new york had 58,500 hits on that
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tool, and the rest of the country at 46,211. new jersey was 57% of hits on a texting tool. and again, i give that credit to all the people that helped us get the word out and to the vip team for putting that together. and in addition to that we also utilized another part of the voting information project was that there are other lookups via google and microsoft. and i know they ended up having a total of 25 million lookups via google and microsoft tools combined. the tool is embedded in over six and websites like cnn and facebook. so when you went on facebook that day, there was the information to find your polling place. so these tools were so important to new jersey because of all the changes that we were stressing to voters to know before you go. so even if your polling place was someplace on sunday, that didn't mean it was going to be
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the same place come tuesday. so maybe the grid went down and we had to move it. maybe, we thought it was going to be open but it wasn't. so we really stressed, utilize one of these tools on tuesday before he went to your polling place. there was a comment earlier about the out of state emergency workers comp and that was a very difficult issue for us because they came from all over the country to assist us. they dropped everything can put their lives on hold to help us and communism when they left they were thinking election. like many people they didn't think about the election into the morning. so they were calling us and asking what, if anything we could do. i know some counties gave them access to laptops and try to reach out their home states. what we did with a lot of them allow them to vote a provisional ballot but we accepted him and mailed them back to their home
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state, and just if the whole state was willing to count it, that was as much as we could do legally for them. so that's maybe a discussion issue for the future as they did in that situation, even though you are alabama, having nothing to do with the storm but you sent 1000 linemen to help new jersey. that's definitely a future discussion item. i guess there's been some post election debate, very easy to be a monday morning quarterback, whether we get too much away didn't do enough, i can see new jersey had a 67% turnout considering it was the week after hurricane is very impressive. i give a lot of credit to our voters in new jersey for really wanting common you know, sometimes jump through hoops to get a ballot, that voting was
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that important to them that they got out and voted. and really finally, none of this would've been possible without all the incredible work of the county and local officials, election officials in my state. i just have to say i couldn't be more proud of being the director of new jersey and i am now, so kudos to them and thank you everyone for all of your assistance. >> i think will give new jersey a round of applause. [applause] >> bob, i have one question before we go on. to me one of the most remarkable things that you have accomplished is being able to analyze your statutes and rules sufficiently in order to come up with those six directives. could you talk a little bit about that process? because as i look around other jurisdictions in the country, statutes covering elections are spread out all through their code, often contradictory.
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the way that you mentioned the development of the directives seems so straightforward. but i am sure back behind the scenes there was a lot of consternation about what parts of the code were being suspended or impacted but if you talk about that just quickly. >> basically the approach we took was not degrade any new laws but to expand on existing laws. and is basically extending deadlines, applying them overseas, to displaced voters. you know, expanding provisional voting throughout the state. so behind the scenes and i give a lot of credit to our attorney general and the attorney general's office, and governor's council. they did an absolutely phenomenal job of really doing what needed to get done to allow our residents to vote. i think that was the key that we didn't have to create a new
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laws. which is expanded upon what we had and we just opened them and relax them a little bit. and that was really want, it was just, that was the main page they do have a tool in our shed to make this work. we went to the statutes and that's how the e-mail and fax ballot came about. so yeah, we have some people are already using it. it's already proven. assistant is in place. a couple little tweets and we can make it work for everybody. provisional voting. it's a county by county right now, but let's open it up statewide and a few little tweets with that, and that law will work. so that's really how it happens just one by one. i think it was meant the law of unintended consequences that that's what happened, we would address one issue. we realized okay, we've extended this law, this deadline, now we have to extend this one and kind of down the line. so that's how we were trying to be as proactive in a reactive
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situation. >> it's certainly i think constructive for jurisdictions as a part of the contingency plan for natural disasters, to really be ready to work with that code, to look for those contradictions and look for the decrease of freedom. thank you. >> i, too, want to thank the eac for inviting the district of climate to participate in this roundtable. there's been a lot of discussion today from the local level as well as some of our citizens and advocates who participate in the process, and there's a lot to be learned from everyone's observations and perspectives on this particular election. i in the executor to of the agency. i have been working in the elections industry since 2002. i started out in the state of georgia as staff attorney for the secretary of state and the elections division and moved up
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the ladder from there, and eventually i believe in 2007, began, 2008 beginning working for the d.c. board of elections as an elections consultant. i've had opportunity to participate in 2008 presidential election as a technical rover, and then eventually as a consultant on the staff and eventually sitting in this particular chair as executive director. sightseeing it a little bit, a good bit of the d.c. elections process, so i feel, we feel called will in the things that occurred in 2008 up through 2012, as has been a growing process for the district. while there were some difficulties during early voting and election day voting itself, we believe that as a whole we have a successful election. and when we talk about the people standing in lines and
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perhaps some technical glitches with paper jams on the voting machines and the like, that that unfortunate is a part of the process. and we will talk of it about what we saw there. as we got to that. but as bob indicated, we started the planning process as early as november 2011, and with the idea that we had an april primary election, party primary that was moved to the april, april primary election and subsequent knowing that the general election would follow directly behind. so planning is obvious that the most important part but even more important than planning is the execution of the plan. i think we've heard testimony from all those come all the counties and folks involved that executions seem to fall -- fall a bit short during early voting and election day. there's i think a number of reasons for the. as we prepared, let me back up
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and say that the district is in a unique situation in that we perform as both the state and the local level, the elections agency. we interact with the federal agencies come with the federal voting system program. we interact with the doj. we interact with the eac and handle the reported requirements that's required by many of the federal laws and then we also are involved in actually executing the election. so we were a couple different hats. i guess they somewhat bring a different perspective from the general state planning process that normally takes place. we are planning globally for the process but we're also hands-on. so we have to keep that in mind, as we look at what we believe the voter turnout will be. we look historic with the turnout has been from 2008, 2004.
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and in the most current election, 2010 and then the primary election itself. try to figure out what's, anticipate what the voter turnout will before this presidential election, understanding that it was a very important event in that it was a very high interest event. and surprisingly as we went through our analysis, we did not miss the mark by much at all in terms of the voter turnout. and what we anticipated would happen. but as we come again as indicated come as we get into the planning process and we get into the printing process, we do as much as we can to prepare our workers to handle what we know will be the onslaught on election day. and as bob indicated, part of our planning process, we met with homeland security here in the district and were met with districts that emergency management agency, and we plan for the contingency, we planned
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for the known activities and we plan for the unknown activities. i recall vividly in that come in one of those last days with the homeland, emergency management, we talked about the weather. our discussion about the weather at the time was only going to get any snow. and is it going to be cold? what are going to do for warming stations and the like. there was no discussion whatsoever about hurricane. and we laugh, there will be any weather issues. oh, my gosh, we started early voting in october, and as we get into that process all of a sudden there's these emergency management briefing sessions that are scheduled. and we are talking about the contingency plan for heavy rains and high winds. we look at each other in the office and said what high winds?
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what are we talking about? and here comes this hurricane. so what is most important that your the contingency plan, and we participated with the conference calls with louisiana and alabama who dealt with the previous hurricanes to try to identify what could occur. i think what we did not plan for was the fact that the oncoming weather situation that the voters were watching that, and while we anticipated how would we move machines about and what facilities would get flooded or, what are we going to do there, the voters took a very active role in attempting to exercise their rights at early voting more so than they have in the past, ma historic for the district. and i think nationwide, i'd be interested to have crisp speak to this, and bob, come back to this issue. generally, the pattern for early
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voting is the first day you kind of ease into it. and the volume picks up and you warm up and all of a sudden you're running, it becomes a fast race but it's a long race. you are kind of pacing yourself. we didn't see that for this election. we saw first day as we open the doors in the early voting centers that people were standing in line like it was election day. that was an interesting phenomenon, that people were standing in line for early voting. and there were lines, and one of the things that we quickly took note of was we needed to improvise. we needed to move equipment around. we needed to really reallocate equipment from one location to another location, and to bring equipment out of the training facilities to take them out to actually allow voters to vote on, to access the ballot. and that i think is what's most important is that the agencies,
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our staff and state agencies were able to improvise and make the changes, the necessary changes to make the day as successful as it could be. looking at the law as it relates to extending the deadlines for certain particular functions. raises a big issue because you can't push, you can't push election day. you can do what you can, but on november 6 we are having an election. so we looked at, we look at those issues as we started into early voting and quickly understood that as it lost a couple days, because of the hurricane, that we had to take some extraordinary measures to ensure that we recouped those days on the backend. so we extended hours for the early vote centers and we extended, i think we added an additional day that wasn't actually scheduled. and it turned out, it turned out
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to be a record turnout for early voting. we anticipate a high turnout but he doubled the amount of early voting that we've ever seen in the district. but stepping back a bit as we talk about the planning process, we saw in the district perhaps what has happened in many years, a two-sided ballot. we found ourselves conducting along with the general election a special election, to fill a question i think a question on about. several questions on about. to fill a vacancy on the council seat. that required us to process and to act in a way that we have not normally done, which we're going to implement a two-sided ballot, how do we get to the. is it a to page about? is a two-sided? that changed the way we look at planning for the election. we implemented a number of poll worker advisory groups, and we asked them to come in and look
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at, you know, what would be the voters respond to a two-sided ballot or a two-page ballot? ..
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some of the voters were more prepared to go to a two sided ballot than others and some of the others so that required voters to spend more time at the touch screen and to spend more time at the voting and paper ballots we hadn't seen in the past. so as we looked at on election de there wasn't really a way to improvise. the voter gets as much time as they would like and the same thing with a small ballett. you get three shots but you can stand there all day and decide where your choice is going to be. so that proved to be a bit frustrating for some of our workers. we saw one of the things that we were not able to plan for root, and we were fully aware of legislation to the district law allows for a voter to vote a
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ballot outside of their precinct and provides the we will count the contest on the eligible voters. we knew that would happen and that we would see a number of special ballots, but i can tell you that we were not prepared for the number of special polis that we received on election day and we received roughly 38,000 special ballots and for the special size what we saw is because of a weather rissole students who were registered in other states who had requested the absentee ballot that didn't receive the absentee ballot so they took advantage of the same-day registration and changed registration to the district and they would go to any particular polling place and we saw voters who perhaps worked
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on 14th street but lived out in the east part of the district who chose to go to a polling place closest to their office as opposed to going back to the polling place by their home to their assigned polling place. so there's a tremendous number of voters out of present you have folks standing in line that's not in the precinct of their home precincts of the clerk is spending more time to find the voter's name and it changes lane and goes over to the special belt line so you have these lines snaking around and got a bit confusing and that is one of the complaints that we received. not to get too deep into the story itself, from the state and execution perspective, we went
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through our planning process and the calendar process and the projection of how much equipment what we need, how many pulled workers do we need, and what we believe if we need to implement a plan would we be able to improvise and make the election happen? there were some unhappy voters and there were some understanding of voters but at the end of the day, i think we had a very good election day. we go to over 294,000 voters, which is a record turnout for the district, and there are lessons to be learned, there are things the we will certainly do differently and some steps that we will take to ensure that execution goes as it is planned. >> i would like to thank alves
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for the invitation. this is exactly what we ought to be doing and they are solid programs. so thank you again i found all of your round tables to be very helpful to me and to the local election officials of michigan. i've been election administration since 1974. i started here in washington with the clerk of the house and the federal election commission and campaign finance, went back home to michigan in 1977 and met with the department of state since then to the i sort for a democratic secretary of state from 1977 to 1994, and i am on the third republican secretary of state since then. i worked for johnson who is currently the secretary of state and michigan. there's roughly 1600 cities car townships, counties that do run
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elections in michigan and everything is very decentralized in terms of how that is done. so we really sort of play the role of trying to assist them and try to keep the boats floating at the highest level possible. many of the clerks are part time. the vast majority in fact or part time smaller jurisdictions. the work another job as their full-time job but it's just as important that they know everything some of the larger jurisdictions need to know in terms of running their present on election day. our election day was actually pretty good getting their nearly killed us but the election ran pretty smoothly. we had a number of issues that came up, the ballot proposals we had six of those that we had to process over 2 million
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signatures coming in the door performing random samples. those were during the spring and summer getting rid of the november election. we also had a congressman who filed fraudulent nominating petitions and ended up not getting the balad and just to make it a little worse we cited the first week of july which forced us to have special elections in september as a primary and then fill the vacancy in november so we had a lot going on that put a lot of stress on the system. no question. and part of the statewide system proposal did where we had six local support as well, so the city of detroit for example had 18 ballot proposals and pushed them all of wayne county and a number of other counties to page balance and the 19-inch balance.
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cliff talks about worrying about the other side of the ballot. [laughter] we worry about the other and the other side of the other valid. -- ballott. that was a challenge so we looked at him to say how long does it take to vote in these things and we had some folks in detroit and elsewhere in the area and we did some studies. it takes 15 to 20 minutes per voter particularly if they are reading everything. it did believe the vote on one of the ballotts is a good eight to ten minutes anywhere else. we elect from president all the way down to the township offices on the presidential election, so it's we've moved schools that have now moved on to that as well, so it's long and it's complicated. the interesting thing was for the congressional seat we had
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people because the reapportionment voting for two different congressional district on the same days it was a little bit of a challenge. frankly i am a little frightened that we didn't get as many questions as we did. people like yeah, well sure of course i get to congressional candidates. [laughter] we are special here, you know. [laughter] but not many people and just kind of moved on. i would have asked some questions. but we find that we've started our first recap on the 28th of november with a group of clerks and a live issue is what everyone is talking about. we had some it was hit and miss. it wasn't everywhere, it wasn't all urban but we discussed that and our clerks uniformly held the general management issue and
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we put electronic poll books out that are home grown, we design them, they are connected to the voter registration system, so we put those out at 80% of the polling places that use them, some were knew this past year and a member of them have been out the last couple of cycles. uniformly worldwide is a lifesaver because we were asked is that the bottom, the check in station the bottleneck, and their answer was well, where was a bottleneck reflected the quality of the operator. so you didn't have a student running it? [laughter] and so they had a lot of students frankly around the state running them so when they had an operator that was comfortable with this technology, it really moved things around. it is accurate. that's the beauty. it's no longer scanning bar
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codes and this kind of thing. it's a very accurate process. the voting booths, statewide voting booths, that's the issue. no 08 is when we really hammered this home. so if it's taking eight to ten minutes for someone to vote a ballot, that means you're getting six people in our on the booth, so the election staff stood back and said well. so then that translated into well i can get more booths, but the facilities, are there more rooms to put them in there? and that's where things come together from a management and a resource basis in terms of is there enough room, do you have enough, can you keep people moving through this process? so we thought things went pretty well. obviously there were some areas what we were trying to do is jump on this right now we have
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another meeting next week to continue this because i guarantee you in six months from now they won't be exactly what lines but they will be they weren't so bad. like the memory is sort of a buzzing over. so we do think that is something that comes around once every four years, so we keep everybody's eye on the ball. we are going to off the elections in 2014. we will have a million fewer and almost 2 million fewer voters. there won't be any lives, there may be from seven to eight to nine in the morning, but that's it. one thing that's interesting is the national media, we don't have early voting in michigan. a lot of jurisdictions wouldn't know that. there are people standing in line to vote absentee. and because of a hear from the media all this talk about early voting so they just show up.
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when they get up to the counter it's like you have to take a reason. i am here to early vote. so they take their reason and move on. we do about 23, 24% absentee, which does relieve the polling place crash on election day. this year the department of justice was pushing for the reports which is a good thing, and we did our survey with the 1500 cities and townships getting ahold of them, getting them to answer the survey was tough so we ended up with the primary into an agreement with the department of justice. we didn't enter into one of these multi-year court-ordered consent decrees. we were lucky we have a great
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judge so when the general election came along, we had nearly the issues that we still have some. we moved ahead and took the initiative and found lawsuits against those jurisdictions that did not make the 45 day cut off. and we filed lawsuits because we did not then have the authority to extend voting beyond election day. we have since gotten that authority moving forward. but we are not going back through the federal system. we are going to move forward. we are going to get the message out there that this is something that really needs to be done. so a lot of those things going on were just hard getting up to election day itself. we got there and on hold it worked very well. >> i wanted to follow-up on the question in the year earlier session today dean logan from
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los angeles was talking about the need for the voting systems to be more active and giving your long tenure in elections, i am sure you are still seeing new things that the legislature or jurisdictions want to put on the ballot that may exceed the key devotee of the voting system or it may not have an affect on the voting system. i just wonder if you can comment on that. did you run into any issues with your multi page ballett in the capabilities of your voting system? >> yes, the voting systems handle it, but it is a very to read you get into the whole balancing process and as the tabulator is going to ratchet up on the first ballot coming through, is it going to ratchet up on both now what's coming
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through? and then when that gets transmitted to website for the unofficial results and people look at it it looks like somebody stuffed the ballot box and we have all these extra ballots. so we do everything we can to avoid the ballots. maybe if you have short ballots it isn't a big deal but when they are long, it's something we hope to avoid. some of the things the locals have attempted with the ballett and we are always fighting them from putting on advisory questions authority to put this issue on the belt and other wise to say it is a misuse of public funds so one jurisdiction wanted to essentially put in an advisory about what kind of budget cuts they wanted and they wanted them to rate them.
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they've not decided to do that. we do yes and no. that's what it calls for so yes, there's a lot of creativity. some would call that convenience. others it's pretty convenient and creative on how they want to use the system, the system has held up and my only comment on the systems are at this meeting in november of a resounding comment from the clerk is 2015 we bought that new system. we bought these in 04 and 06 and you were talking about getting new ones and they had a lot of issues, not major failures, but maintenance issues with systems you can see the deterioration system that is 68-years-old now, and the question is how far will they last into the future? so we are starting the process. i always reminded them that they would get the pony at this time.
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i don't think that an uncle sam is necessarily coming through as they did last time. so the voting system as it has been noted by a number of people this year or today that is an issue that is moving on the horizon. >> thank you. i am doug lewis, executive director of the election center in houston. you ask us how long we've been involved in the i guess was a child when i got started in this. i met that third stage of life, middle-aged and she coming you look good. it's been instructive watching over this all the years that you see the ebb and flow of what comes on the elections. i have to say to you i think in this era of heightened partisanship it's been
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exceedingly difficult to shape election practices based on practices that have many times political objectives the become difficult for us as administrators to find ways to accommodate. on the one hand, if the policy is aimed at eliminating fraud, then we are pounced on as an election administrators that have the effect of the voter suppression of vice versa. we cds on a constant basis and until this war kind of gets over before this really increased partisanship that we see not only at the national level, it's infected the state level, now too to the extent that it's very difficult to carry on the rational conversations about
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what makes good administrative policy. because as soon as you say it, somebody is prism is affected and they start looking through, and then they want to say that can't be the case. it has to be that if you are doing that is because you want to do xy and z. more often than not, it's more innocent than that. it just makes good sense to do xy easy, so it's been tough for us to find ways to say to people some of these things, some of these policies really do have tremendous impact, and if there was probably anything i could reach out and say legislative bodies and courts it seems to be reticent to employment in the election year is some new law, new practice, new ruling and to fight through that.
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and because as the both engage in this, the process has to have organization. you have to know what the practices are supposed to be. you have to know what the policies are going to become a you have to know what the rules are going to be so that everybody in that process can participate under what is known, not what is unknown. and where we got to it seems in many instances over the last several elections cycles is state legislatures certainly first it was congress and then state legislatures wanting to implement in an election year new practices and policies that then takes for us as election administrators all we want is the thing to come off well. we want voters to have a good experience. we want both political parties and all persuasions to know that we've organized something where it's fair for everybody.
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it's not shaded towards one or the other. and yet when we get into these practices and when we get into court decisions, that change us at the last minute it's absolute chaos and confusion. we are lucky to carry off an election that has any at all. sunni to start looking at how policies and when policies actually come to impact this and whether all the lawsuits that we see going on the team that partisan gain let's face it, the lawsuits are dressed up and high-minded but it's a team that partisan game. at some point we have to look at how do we all take a little step back and say okay let's look and make those decisions in the year before the election and then make the practices and policies the year of the election stable. that's what elections in america
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or any democracy need is stability. unfortunately they've only been one party oriented because the changes they've gone through in the last three election cycles have been enormous. my advice is in d.c. and new york and new jersey go hug and election officials because by god they went above and beyond the call of duty to make things happen and make them work so those are what we need to look at to the elections today are better than they've ever been. we came from a question is whether the process worked at all and whether the process was broken irretrievably to when we see the voter survey now that's not what we see at all. voters themselves have a very high degree of confidence that their vote is going to be counted accurately and fairly now and that's good.
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now, we had unacceptably long wait times for some voters, and some of them are unconscionably long and we need to look at that and the construction that, but some of those solutions and answers to that are not easy. some are driven by law and some are driven by practices and by precinct sizes and some by facility. some are driven by, quite frankly, administrative stuff. we have to look in the mirror, to back and say are we part of the problem, so we need to look at that and kind of find true that. i heard lots of things today in terms of suggestions how we go about fixing some of this thing and i kept thinking as i heard each one of those what they want for information or what they want us to change or how many people they want us to employ to do these things as long as money
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is not an object, we can fix anything you want. you know, get that checkbook out and we will write you some checks. you know, we will show you what we can do with money but as long as the budgets are a part of this process, the truth is the local governments are strapped. state governments are strapped. they have too many competing goods for all the things the public wants them to do and various groups within the public wants them to do. so when it comes to elections call legislatures and local governments tend to say wait a minute. 5 like you a new voting equipment cost $25 million you can't use it they like the computers that are needed. so how the white justify in reduced budgets, and that's one of the things that we are finding. voting equipment is still the problem.
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voting equipment is a problem in the sense the system to getting us voting equipment is so confused the manufacturers are confused about what they can manufacture and sell securely. the jurisdictions are concerned about the can buy what would get them in trouble and have lots of controversy going on. if they're putting on electronic corporation and now they really like electronic equipment and of the voting on paper they like. if the voting by mail they really like voting by mail. those are the things the voters want to do what is known to them it's mentioned several times from mit and showed the young people don't want us to vote on paper anymore and all we are probably going to buy for the
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next 15 years is stuff that is good to be pretty much paper oriented. and so, we are not looking at this as a process. we are not looking at this as how do we build capacity for the future and how we change the future. we can sit down and save of reality. what is it you want the election system to look at. let's design the process the you want so that it operates logically, so that it operates as a process. i'm going to tell you that isn't going to happen anytime soon. he was absolutely correct unless we become a disaster of major proportions that's not going to happen. we came upon a process of major proportions and it didn't change much. in fact we sort of went backwards in some respects. so, when you look at this, understand it's what a whole lot
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of vested interests have in this process. for us to fix the patchwork means you have to get consensus from so many people who earn their livings out of that piece that you want to change to it until you can get past all that and look at this, we are not going to have a really well-designed process. it is possible politically, what is possible financially, but is possible for the stuff that we are given. in the 40 years that i've been around, i will tell you starting 40 years ago people used to tell us that we needed a better poll workers. i'm still here in that. it is in the urban areas choice that means surplus. it means you have more people that you need in order to select
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from. i think logan said it would set a past or not we are going to employ. some of our jurisdictions let me tell you if the breeze, they are hard. that's where we are. this is a process in which we are resource starved consistently. 25% of a reelection office is in america are funded as well as any ever part of the government. that means 75% are not, and that's the way it's going to continue to be at least in the rest of my working life time i think. if we can change the way we fund this. if we can change the way we approach this to the if we can all come together and get policymakers to come together and tell us what objectives they want met, then we can go meet those objectives. we are pretty smart folks. we've been at this for 200 years
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and we have learned a thing or two as we have done this and we have also screwed up that time or two and we figured out usually when we screw up how to fix that fairly quickly. we do it fairly well. we are a resilient dynamic democracy. it works better than we pay for. those who complained of poor workers, let me tell you something, thank god we've got them. frank got your willing to come out in the numbers they do for the low-paid they get, for the long hours that they have in order to do this job. we are fortunate in america that those folks continue to be involved in the process. and the election officials to take a lot of heat on a lot of these issues are people who really want to make american democracy work. i know of no election officials in the united states of america
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that wants voters to have a bad experience. know of none of them that one to turn voters away. they want voters to do well. this is one of those situations where you hope that we can all come together and make really good decisions, but you know the difference between genius and insanity is a fine line and the question is do you erasing the line and screwup and cost yourself or you make it work to repair the resiliency of the democracy has worked pretty well and i'm glad to be part of it. thank you. >> i want to come back and ask you a question you've covered a lot of grounds. this was the first thing that caught my attention and has to do with your observations on maybe the lack of deliberateness
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in the formulation of the legislation. i think what i heard you say is that we have to factors their. one is a partisan driven agenda goals of the legislation and the other is the timeline for might be little or nothing that can be done about the first criteria. but the second one is it does operationally impact election officials and i wonder if you can talk just a little bit more about since we have had a representative from the will to the council today about what state legislatures should look at in terms of the timeline and implementation related to changes and election legislation >> one of the fortunate things we got out of the help america
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vote act is the legislative staff had been in place for long enough to understand the issues and had been working with the election officials and the advocacy communities long enough that they know the issues. one of the things we had and that is that they set up several stages at which we would do certain things to achieve the new objectives under the health america vote act. most legislative proposals are not that way. they want it for that next election cycle. if anybody wants to approach this, but it needs to do is say to its own elections administrators, these are as liberals, conservatives, bring them together. you're going to find out truthfully when you put election administrators in the room, it doesn't matter whether the liberals, conservatives, 90% of the time they will come up with similar solutions and answers as
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to how to do this. if the legislative bodies would do more about bringing those folks in and say what is realistic, what can be done, how long will it take you to get the point of reaching the objectives we want to reach? sometimes obviously we want all the time and all the money in the world for us to get. but trying to pass something in january that you want implemented in november is not. that's insane. that's bad practice. that's bad policy. it's the kind of thing that drives elections to be on edge at all times. i think you said it really well earlier today when you said, you know, unfortunately we keep doing the impossible. and as long as we keep doing the impossible, everybody thinks we can continue to do the impossible. it's because we are operating on fear. by god, it might fail.
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we don't want it to fail so we go to all kind of like this to make sure it doesn't but at the same time, it's bad policy. administrative practices take time. they take time to lay in place. we start planning elections one year in advance. we know what our calendars are going to be. we know what our important dates are. we know what our training cycles need to be. if you start messing with that and in particular in the last 180 days, and you have just asked for a disaster. >> would you agree with that? >> that's where we are. it makes no sense. so state legislatures and the united states congress needed to go back to looking at and saying we can wait for the future. we are going to tell you how we want it done, but in terms of guidelines, and by the way one of the other practices that
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legislatures want to do is a lot of them want to tell you exactly how to do it, don't do that. we will end up with a whole bunch of solutions some of which are good, some of which are not so good but we will learn from that and the good ones will survive. >> i'm going to ask one question of the group, and i think we will be ready to start on kind of our summary of issues and priorities. the question i have for the group is looking at the redistricting event come and doug's comments made me think about how the world out of the redistricting issues it seems like every organization involved as long as they could be for the handoff to the next organizational group and when it finally got down to the county
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and the township level many of the deadlines were so force and rushed to rate the performance of the election in many cases if you could talk a little bit about the redistricting process and its impact from the state level, and then what also you may know about how it impacted the local jurisdictions. so i will just throw that out for the derby and maybe we can take that around for a couple of minutes. >> it's critical. there is no question. the impact that it has treated my first election in 1982 was the reapportionment year, and they didn't get everything done until may with a august primary. and we pulled it off. you don't tell the courts -- ulin accordingly, right?
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the irony is with the statewide systems that would be impossible to do today. you couldn't do that. in the last two sessions or the apportionments, the republican party had control of both houses of legislature and the governor. so they got on the summer before and the state level has to do the entire st. index for all the jurisdictions. this year we brought in a number of the larger counties that took care of their own city started to get the value of the decentralization, kaput the irony is if we would have any kind of a split government which would have been pushed us into court because we never agreed before and i don't see any reason they don't agree now into a court process, god help us.
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>> year in the district we were a little more fortunate when the lives can out from the council we were the ones who were implementing our way down from the board level to a local neighborhood officials that is elected. but the impact on a process, what we saw were voters who were moved from their long existing boards the we cent voter cards out to the folks they didn't really pay attention to the fact they were moved and we saw that specifically for the anc elections we had candidates the recall and scream at the top of their lungs my constituents are getting their own ballett. the present is no longer in your aamc and as the commission's work part of that redrawing process, if they didn't stay in
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the process from the beginning to the end, some of the things they thought had changed didn't actually change or some things they thought were going to stay the same changed, so they didn't know who their constituents work. we were fortunate that we converted our voter registration system over to the point to point address system, so we were able to pick up perhaps some of the anomalies that were kind of out flyers on the st index that fall in the cracks so the point to point address system helped us out and then we had a to phased process. we moved to the first part of the year but what that required us to do is mail out two sets of voter cards which cost more money, but that was the strategy that we used and seemed to be helpful for us. >> i was going to say we were fortunate as well. we have a tie breaker who is
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appointed showed the two parties not agree on a plan and he came in and he will pick the plan and fortunately there was agreement after that, so we were able to implement our congressional redistricting and we lost some districts this year so that made it a little more interesting because both sides were fighting to keep theirs and ultimately it ended up with a mad but one republican and one democrat would fight for that seat. the statewide voter registration import the data so we were able to get it all done in a timely manner and we didn't have a lot of issues setting it up, but like chris, we did have a vacancy in converse of this year so we were faced with that same situation and redistricting that can only happen once every ten
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years. you have your old district ten and now you have your new district ten but not everybody is going to be in the same switch isn't necessarily an issue of i have to congressional candidates on my ballot. i have different congressional candidates on the ballot because a man of ten and 09 and completely different and to further complicate it because the way they redistrict they may only grab a couple streets and move it and so now you have a split precinct that some of the people are just nine and have always been benign so when the voter walked in we had to basically set up to separate polling places you are 09 and ten. they get to vote for - of that
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was a little bit confusing but once we leave it out the county had creatures and the address and instruct you which way to go so if it wasn't an entire district move, it was a little bit challenging this year due to the redistricting and a vacancy. >> one election official put it very succinctly during redistricting in a presidential election year is the perfect storm. you're asking for disaster. earlier is better. but waiting for the numbers to come from the census each time, and then getting legislators who are actually in session when they can do something about it, and then getting them to actually come to agreement as to what they are going to do coming and getting that on paper, earlier is better, but sometimes the process just takes as long as it takes.
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what that does to us is puts us in chaos because you are particularly in the presidential election year where everything is so massive about what you are doing and also changing all the lines while you are doing it. >> chris? >> the other thing it is the temptation to consolidate the precinct and there's a lot of pressure has plans indicated to save money and to consolidate in a lot of our local election officials made in the last election was 2010. we can handle a larger line and they forgot about 08 so they consolidate those precincts. they are still in the same locations using a lot of the same locations so all these people show up and that is something that contributes to the line issue. >> i think particularly, too of the down about what raises or impacting by the redistricting in ways that are not publicized.
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most of the attention is on the president and congress and it would be interesting to see research done on the down ballot races. i know in georgia we had some issues we had to go back to the old district lines in certain counties because we couldn't get them redistricted in time. >> working with doug and around the table, and alice always gets the last word let's take some time three or four minutes each to summarize what we think are the ceiling issues that if we were building our own action agenda for the coming year or two years, would be at the top of the list for issues to begin addressing or encouraging appropriate organizations to
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prioritize these issues going forward? this information clearly is important to that eac and help them establish priorities and helps researchers know where they may be willing partners for the data collection and helps those of us in the election administration to get a sense of what our community is dealing with the end engagement. doug, i will start with you. >> let me come at this from a couple of different ways books. i want to come back to the research component so don't let me forget that because i'm at the age right to do that. >> i will remind you. >> thank you i think clearly boating equipment replacement of, servicing of, improvement of, designing of is the next major thing that is on our
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plate. we are going to start tomorrow with a meeting that we have here in washington with about 100 of our closest friends to sit down and start looking at all along the lines issue as part of that and then the legislation related to that. so we will start on that. i also think we can fixed most of the longline problems. we learn pretty quickly. we adjust pretty quickly. the ones that our resources driven are going to be harder to fix if we can't buy enough voting equipment, and let me tell you, the governments want you to buy voting equipment based on averages voters don't shelepin averages. the shelepin waves yet we are not prepared to have been delayed to handle that, we are just not. voting equipment is going to be the next wave because it is going to be the next huge expenditure for state and local governments because the equipment is wearing out of the folks ability to continue to
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catch that equipment is reaching its worst point. in fact parts for some of them are not even available anymore not just the manufacturer to manufacturer can't get it from the suppliers in asia and europe and wherever they are buying the parts. they just don't exist anymore. so this is going to be that next major wave that we are going to have to fix. long term, looking at how we are going to vote is going to be important and nobody is doing it we are trying to -- we keep raising the issue and keep kicking the can down the road but it's sort of a wish book deal if we can design something if we didn't have a cost factor to a debt to get into the wish book stuff you have so many divergent viewpoints about what ought to be there and it's very tough to get their.
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the young people are telling us they don't want paper. they are the next wave of voter since we have to design a system that eliminates paper my hunch is 50 years from now we still have a form of paper involved in some parts of the process. we can improve our lives and elections but it becomes difficult to make any headway. the next wave is probably going to be like the last wave that we saw. they are frustrated with the eac testing process and approval process. i don't think it is a broken-down system. it's a very complex system that has to go about and the eac has done as well as it can do in my mind with most of this and yet at the same time, parts of this
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that can't get systems that they no need updating because it means for the vendor they have to bring it back and retest the whole process and that process isn't working so we are going to figure out how do we do that? in terms of the research component, the one thing i would like all of you and academia to do, if you have got stuff that you think is interesting and important to elections that you want the the on, feed it to us. send e-mails at the election center. we will start looking at those and try to roll those in. what can be reasonably accomplished in order to get to the data that you want. tell us what it is, but understand from the date that we agree on what you're asking for
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and what you're asking too it is two or three years down the road until we start collecting and so those are things that are willing to do we want all the help we can to improve elections in america. we really do, but some of it may be more interesting to you than it is to last. >> thank you. >> mauney issues with the voting systems i think the frustration a lot of us feel is with the voting systems and the fact that we may have to buy year earlier rather than later that would leave time for new systems perhaps to come out on the marketplace that would use a lot more off-the-shelf hardware in the voting system that would devolve into software systems and wouldn't necessarily be dealing with all of this single purpose use technology that we do today. i just don't think election
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officials are going to stand up and knock the systems, but i don't think they would look at them and say this is the best that this country can do. we are not there yet. education has been talked about a lot today. it needs to continue at the state level we've partnered with michigan university which is used for any education community. we are headed out there. our objective is to raise the clerks, the education of the clerks, the urban clerks, they are full-time. that's not our primary issue. a lot of them are the more rural clerks getting everybody up to speed. plus of this year we put videos on the web site training videos, not the two-hour once you turn the lights off and everyone goes to sleep, the snippets in the process that the inspectors coming election inspectors of 30,000 of them can go online and watch them before election day
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as refreshers, so we need to move in that direction. finally, we need to solve the voter registration there is no reason we shouldn't be talking about the voter registration in 2013 when the national voter registration act passed in 1994. we need to solve that issue and electronic registration is a movement in that direction. we are doing it online now through the driver system anytime you change your address online through the driver's license, it automatically changes the voting edge. we are when you have to move in some direction really to put an end to this issue. i mean getting registered should really not be an issue in america today. and if we can simplify the reelection a process, that would be an objective that would give a lot of relief to people that are working hard to keep up with each layer that is piled on
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succession after session after session. sooner or later that thing is going to break. >> thank you. chris? >> i agree with both the and chris on the next level of technology that's most important as it relates to voting equipment and systems and the things we are able to do. we talk about in our office and in the board talks about it that today's voter has this microwave mentality. i want it now. ten seconds i should be in and out in ten seconds and they compare to the banking system i can go to the atf and the poll $20 out in ten or 15 seconds and we should be able to vote that way. so we have to focus on an election voting system that will process a voter in that amount of time. now obviously, the contest on the ballot has an impact on how
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quickly the voting system will actually perform, but that is what we are looking at is addressing the i want it now mentality, and as we talk about training and we talk about the resources, money is always an issue. we always need more money. and we need our legislators to recognize that when we say we estimate the cost will be for something that we are not just making numbers up. we are basing those numbers on historical practices and with other jurisdictions are doing and it costs money. it's not that we just want to have lavish polling places. it costs us money on the field. i would like to see some sort of commitment from the educational institution as it relates to a source of coal workers. the state has a good program in
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that election you have students that rotate in and out and participate in that program the train to be in other fields with of the work. if you can go into where there's a political science program or computer science program that you could get some sort of credit, school credit, college credit, high school credit for working as a poll worker, that may help with the process of identifying those folks who have the time to spend 12 to 14 to $16 a polling place. last but not least, you know, we talked about on more than one occasion how they are voting. if the election day was on holiday, or if it was -- if workers were given the ability to take today off without penalty, without losing pay, would they participate as a co-worker -- paul worker.
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there and be paid $180 for 12 or 16 hours they are not interested and a turnaround and lockout so there has to be a way to identify resources to work as poll workers and if we are in a more able, then some of the efficiencies of the polling places will increase i believe. >> thank you. cliff. >> obviously from a new jersey, new york standpoint, contingency planning -- because i don't think we have ever faced anything like this before, and would be a missed opportunity if we don't really sit down and put a real contingency plan in and learn from the lessons that we did have here and that's something that we've talked about in new jersey. it's not something that you do in a couple weeks. it is something that is going to take time, but if you don't do it this year, it's going to get
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pushed -- people forget how bad it was very quickly. in a year or two, you know god forbid something like this happens in new jersey or some other state, and you didn't utilize the lessons you learned here. so, i think that has to be an agenda item. it's always been an agenda item, but the fact that especially new jersey and new york have the experience they can come out and say know that wouldn't work. i can tell you why it wouldn't work. we tried to implement that. we discussed that. so, i think it is a unique opportunity to turn a horrible event into something that we can get a positive out of for god forbid somebody else, and it doesn't have to be a hurricane. it can be any kind of other natural disaster that you have to have an election and that kind of ties in to their needs
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to be a discussion on what if the storm was a weak leader we wouldn't have been able to have a presidential election in new jersey, parts of new york and there is nothing in place to address that and it's always been we will deal with it if it happens, and it almost did. and if it really did happen, i don't know what the answer would have then and there would have been a lot of scrambling in that type of a situation to read a couple other things. doug talked about the younger generation and i think we've got a really good lesson. i talked about a little but the voting information project that social media is really becoming a big part of elections that if you use it properly it can be a fantastic tool like facebook and the testing tool that you can for free basically get information out there if you set
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it upright. so that can clear up this information that gets out there about elections and the redistricting you put in your address and will tell you who your congressional candidates are coming and you can get that kind of generation and your right, people want that on their smartphone. they aren't going to read the sample paper about what you mail but if you give them an application to get to it, i'd think that is definitely an intelligent way to move forward because the younger generation and older -- we learned from our kids so we want to keep in touch with our kids we have to learn those things. ..
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>> doug, one more point. >> i want to say, i want everybody to be reminded of how valuable the united states election assistance commission has been in terms of data collection, resources, in terms of training come in terms of having forums like this to where we can discuss these kinds of things. where we can look at what the processes are. it's valuable for the federal
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government. it's valuable for america that we have this agency. >> thank you. >> i'll start by saying that this has been such a good come in my opinion, forum. with odds we got a lot of information from all of you. anyone here today, specific task, specific functions, specific issues but all in all there's a lot of overlap. a lot of recurring theme, a lot of things that we have said we can establish priority for and set goals for that we can put together best practices, and start to put together working groups to develop those best practices for guidance to get out to election officials all over the country. that technology aspect number one, to piggyback on what you said, keep in touch with our kids and i'll give you an example. i have a friend who put a
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telephone call a landline phone in his daughter's apartment. we recently did that with my daughter. anyway, they called the phone and it rang and rang and rang and rang and rang. 15, 20 times, because his daughter didn't know what it was. they didn't know what the was, so she never answered the phone. he then ended up texting her telling her, answer your phone, which she responded. so there are just those things that are realistic with respect to where we are with our youth, and where they are with respect to technology and how we implement these things. they need to be flexible, it's a lot. what we will do obviously is go back, fortunately this webcast, we have it, we will review it, we will absorb a lot of this information. the data collection is something that again a recurring issue. the training poll workers, identification of poll workers,
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identification of facilities, what properly accommodates, what is needed for voters, should be schools be closed. should we use it election day. cliff pointed out holiday elections. communication and education. communication is key at new york pointed out, issuing an executive order but not letting them know that the order is coming out and having to respond immediately to that sort of thing is something that we need to be able to communicate from top to bottom, you know, what's going on within the jurisdiction. the long line am obviously that's where we started this morning with and that's kind of like where we will come around, how do we address it, ma does it need to be addressed, and in what capacity, and what reaction we get to that. doug made a point that no election officials wants a voter to have a bad day, and that is absolutely too. i don't know if anyone. i've been in this field for a very long time. it has the beauty of having my
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former job, i'm so happy for him, and he and all of us can relate to what it is for election, for voters to have a pleasant day. that's all we won't. no one wants anyone have an unpleasant day. we don't care about the outcome. and i think that is so very important. we want a process to work. so what we have to do is get together and understand and review and work and put out practices to make sure that process works. we need to do that. so i'm going to end there. i said we will look at this, go over this, the taping of this. i'm so happy we were able to do that. i'm going to end with saying thanks to everybody. i mean come we could not do this as i said from the beginning without the willingness of panelists such as yourselves to come forward and to be so candid and willing to give your advice, your observations, your expertise and lend it to us so that we can then move forward on
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it. a bit of personal thanks to my staff, emily, everyone. emily is still sitting in the back. i know she got a very, very early this morning and has been working through this process to get everybody here safely and get them home safely. and we truly appreciate that. so emily, thank you very much. mohammed who is responsible for all the technology set up in here. we could not obviously to the webcast and other things without him. others work to doing twitter, so thank you for doing that. other individuals of staff, megan who also sat on a panel as well. karen and bill, brian hancock, brian, active role in putting this together. identifying a panelists and working with us in time to make sure we kind of got our issues together where we wanted to
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discuss this. i had to recognize them and thank them as well, and, of course, we could not do this without the individuals to my right. and i want to give -- [applause] because he is just always, always been willing to come and do this. i said at the beginning, and he does out of the kindness of his heart because he loves the process, he loves elections. he has a state-of-the-art process going down in georgia. maybe we need to all go down and look at what you're doing and get some feelers from you because we know you do a good job down there, so thank you again. i especially to thank you for be willing to come to this. this is the first round table. we will do others for this year. we have done others in the past. we will try to get as i said working groups together and go over this hearing, or this roundtable and put together best practices and see what ago to move forward. so thank you again very much all of you for coming to work with us to get this data. >> with that, it's right at
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5:00. i thank everybody here at this panel and those who participated earlier, and thank those who joined us on line. with that we are vigilant. safe travels to everyone. thank you. spent the u.s. air force been an honor guard held its first rehearsal today at and is joint base in maryland in preparation for the inauguration parade on january 21. air force band has marched in 15 inaugural parade since it was formed in 1941. the first consisting of a quartet and a bandleader. the maneuvers performed here will take place during the and i go parade for president obama, the vice president and their families in front of the white house viewing stand. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ >> the tradition of inaugural parade dates back to the very first an occupation when george washington took the oath of office on april 30, 1789, in new york city. the actual inauguration takes place on monday, january 21. live coverage will start at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span and we will be live throughout the day with the inaugural ceremony, the inaugural luncheon and the
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parade along pennsylvania aven avenue. afghan president karzai is in washington, d.c. today and at 5:30 p.m. eastern speaking at georgetown university in washington on relations between afghanistan and the u.s. c-span will have live coverage. and all this wiki on c-span2's we have been joint q&a programs at six asian. this evening, a nonprofit group in baltimore to help high risk youth and their families. then at 7 p.m. eastern another q&a presentation. >> haskins could read the president moved unlike anyone else. he came as close as anyone to
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gaining admittance into what sure what called roosevelt's heavily forested interior. he, unlike mrs. roosevelt, he knew when to be still in the presence of the president, when to press him, or when to back off and tell a joke. after he won the election, wendel willkie who we beat was in his office and they remained friends. and willkie said to the president, why do you keep that man so close to you? that man being hopkins. willkie did not like hopkins. and roosevelt said, you know, you may be in this office sunday and you will understand, that he asked for nothing except to serve me. spirit trusted advisor, friend and confident to fdr, harry hopkins lived in the roosevelt white house for three and half
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years. david roll on "the hopkins touch" sunday at 10 p.m. eastern on booktv on c-span2. >> the federal government yesterday imposed new home mortgage regulations designed to assure borrowers can repay their loans. under the proposed rule, banks would, banks would have to verify if a borrower's income and employment and borrowers debt could not exceed 43% of their income. consumer financial protection bureau director richard cordray announced a new rule in baltimore, maryland. >> the consumer financial protection bureau is an independent federal agency whose mission is to help consumer finance market works by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic life.
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i am the active associate director for internal controls, welcome. today's field hearing is live stream at the consumerfinance.gov, and you can follow cfpb on facebook and on twitter at at cfpb. we will begin today's field hearing with remarks from some well-known maryland luminaries. then you will hear from cfpb director richard cordray. this will be followed like a panel discussion on the atr atm rules that will be led by cfpb director raj date. after the panel discussion, audience members will have an opportunity to share their stories and occupations with the cfpb. so let's get started. senator ben cardin is a native
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of baltimore, a former state legislator, and a member of the house. in 2001, he was named as among the top 100 people who have influenced the way americans think about money. the senator was a strong supporter of the legislation that created the cfpb. we thank senator cardin for being with us today. [applause] >> thank you very much for the introduction, for being here. director cordray, we thank you for your service to our country and bringing this hearing the baltimore. on behalf of my colleagues, we thank you for being here in baltimore. congressman cummings and mayor stephanie rawlings blake and i have seen firsthand the pain that was caused by people have lost their homes. we have seen what it's meant to
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their dignity. we've seen neighborhoods that have been very much negatively impacted, of fraud and mortgage foreclosures, and the tragedy of this, that in many of these cases it didn't have to happen. individuals in our community were steered into subprime products that they shouldn't have been. they qualify for conventional mortgages, but yet they were steered into a financial arrangement that they didn't understand. they did realize the consequences, and as a result, many people lost their homes. and communities were devastated. today, we have too many abandoned properties, too many homes still in foreclosure. people who are homeless, and still homeowners are uncertain about their future. so we thank you for having this
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hearing here at baltimore, because we do believe that the people that will be presenting, to give you some good information to help form the policies that we expect from the consumer financial protection bureau. i want to first complement over malley, secretary skinner, our secretary of housing for the states -- that our state to to help people. they set up counseling in ways in which the homeowner, the person who borrowed the money could have direct contact with the person who lent the money. and in some cases we're able to adjust mortgages and keep people in their homes. i'm proud of the work that our mayor did in helping the people of baltimore city better understand their options. the way the financial rhp for setup, people couldn't talk to the right people.
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and it was in everyone's interest to avoid foreclosure and yet too many properties were being foreclosed. congressman cummings had many foreclosed prevention forums. it was amazing. i have seen some of the people who have benefited from congressman cummings' work. i held several for closure prevention forums and i was amazed, i expected that i would find maybe 50 or 100 people show up. hundreds showed up. because they were thirsty for information. they had the financial ability they thought to save the house but they didn't know how to do it. and that's the lesson i think we've learned over the last five years. we have to do a much better job, and i'm going to tell you can we can put a face on it, talk about all the individual stories of people have come up, homes that we as safe as a result of the. this one person who lives in
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maryland would have lost her home. would have lost her home. she was at one of those forums, and she was able, through a counselor, to find actually had the mortgage, and through a pro bono attorney, sit down and able to adjust your mortgage through the tools that were made available as a result of legislation passed by the united states congress with the leadership, strong leadership of the obama administration. we were able to use the tools and save this individuals home. there are many other stories like that. we've got to personalize this. to me, the key to preserving homeownership in this country, the key to financial success, and i hope the major objective of the consumer financial protection bureau is to provide financial literacy. let people understand what is
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out there. let them understand their own capacity. let them understand the options that are there. financial literacy is critically important, and then access to financial products and services that are fair, affordable, and understandable. if we can take those steps we can help empower people to not only own a home or to make the right financial decisions, but to help build our economy. so i just urge you to be bold. when congress passed dodd-frank, when congress established the bureau, we wanted you to be bold because we don't want to repeat what we've seen over the last five years again. we want you to be bold in protecting families from abusive financial products, get rid of them. empower families with financial knowledge, skills, and resources. we need resources, to help guide them, particularly when the choices are complex or when the terms are unclear, but when the
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products themselves are misleading. and i think through proper regulation, best practices and leadership, we can provide the financial information, and we can help people during these critical period in their lives when they have to make those types of decisions. i think we can guide them. i want to compliment you on the regulations that you just recently issued. absolutely the right thing to do. and i can tell you, you have friends in the congress of the united states who will support your bold actions. let us work together and avoid what's happened over the last five years so we don't have to repeat that, and americans can indeed have the american dream of homeownership, with the right financial arrangements at the right time of their life. again, thank you for being here in baltimore, and i assure you that our congressional delegation, senator mikulski and our entire team, are there to work with you to make sure that
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we accomplish these goals together. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, senator cardin. our next speaker is congressman elijah cummings. congressman cummings represents maryland's seventh congressional district, which includes our beautiful venue today, westminster hall. transport is the ranking member on the oversight committee -- representative cummings is the ranking member of the oversight committee. we thank them for hosting us today. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. come on, we can do better than that. good morning, everyone. it is certainly my honor and my purpose to be here, and i am so glad that the consumer financial protection bureau has chosen the
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seventh congressional district, which i just so happen to represent, to hold this forum. you know, as it was sitting there listening to ben cardin, i cannot help but think about the last time elisabeth warren up here before my committee. and how some folks tried to tear her apart. because she simply wanted an organization which was meant to protect our constituents. she wanted to make it work. and i can tell you, i was telling director cordray a little bit earlier. it's amazing, the very people who tried to put her down in their actions elevated her, now she is a united states senator. you don't have to clap. you should, because she is very,
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in a very significant position. go on, clap. [applause] >> i want to thank senator cardin. i certainly, our mayor who has just done an outstanding job and you, director cordray, for being here. the consumer financial protection bureau is dedicated to protecting consumers, including homebuyers from abusive financial practices. under director cordray's leadership, the bureau conducted enforcement actions last year that returned about $425 million, to consumers who were the victims of deceptive practices. this is about $80 million more than the bureau's entire budget for 2012. so the american taxpayers already getting significant bang for their buck.
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here in baltimore we have been hard hit by the national foreclosure crisis. in which nearly 4 million american families have already lost their homes. during this crisis i've organized some seven for closure prevention workshops and we're about to have another one on june 15. and in these workshops have ben said a few minutes ago, we heard first hand about the abuses committed by mortgage services. in addition and my position as ranking member of the house oversight government reform committee, i've conducted investigations and introduce legislation to expand protections for homeowners, including those serving in the military. given the enormity of the challenges we currently face, we are looking to you, director cordray, and the bureau, delete the way forward. and america is counting on you,
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credit is provided on the terms of clear, fair, and affordable. today's hearing will primary address the bureau's new role on qualified mortgages. and i'm pleased that the bureau sought input from stakeholders on earlier drafts of the rule. we are also awaiting a new rule on mortgage servicing standards. we will evaluate all the new rules based on whether they protect consumers from the kinds of abuses they faced in the past. as well as whether they prevent those seeking financial gain from exploiting consumers through unintended loopholes. and as i said to you a little bit earlier, director cordray, there's a group of people who are not usually mentioned in these discussions. and that is the children. the children who become displaced because their parents cannot afford the home or the been put out of a house. and heaven knows what effect
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that has on generations yet unborn. can't take the child i will never be able to buy a house but a house but doesn't say to that child i shouldn't even try because i will probably fail. these are questions that never seemed to rise up, but i know that you're very this incident too, based upon the discussions that we have had. and so i know, director, that you will remain vigilant in monitoring the effect of these new rules on homeowners, and on credit. and we urge you to take action whenever a new trend threatens the safety or soundness of our mortgage market. and i reiterate what ben cardin said. we've got your back. i will do everything in my power to back up this organization. it is so very, very, very important. that's why people like the mayor and i are in government. we want to make sure that people have an opportunity to live the very best life that they can. so with that, i again, welcome
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to our city and we look forward to hearing from you. [applause] >> thank you, congressman cummings. our next speaker is mayor stephanie rawlings blake. mayor blake is baltimore's 49th mayor. she served on the board of trustees for the u.s. conference of mayors and was the youngest person ever elected to the baltimore city council. we would like to thank the mayor for graciously hosting us. [applause] >> good morning. i'm hosting you in my city and in my law school. you forgot to mention that, congressman. i want to thank director cordray for holding this hearing here today, and i want to welcome the
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cfpb the baltimore city. i want to thank the senator and congressman for being here, baltimore and maryland is blessed to have tremendous allegation in d.c. that is working so hard on our behalf, and today is just a small example of the work that they do together. we're always grateful when congressional committees, and federal agencies this a baltimore. and to that end, director, you're welcome anytime you want to come. we believe that the field hearings and visits are an invaluable part of the decision-making process. policy is far too often made within the confines of washington, d.c., but a forum such as this allows decision-makers to see and to hear what's happening on the ground and how it affects real people. and i can only lead to better policies. what's happening in baltimore is typical of what's happening in much of america.
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we have higher than average unemployment and unemployment rates in baltimore city. this affects people's credit scores, and thus, their eligibility for mortgages. foreclosures also destroyed a persons credit score, and baltimore have suffered disproportionately foreclosure rates throughout the real estate market collapsed. and even though interest rates are record lows right now, there have been significant increases in loan fees and banks are requiring higher credit scores to qualify for a mortgage. this creates additional obstacles to obtaining a mortgage. and this is not even to mention the government regulations with respect to qualified mortgages, which are defined to regulate will make a mortgage more difficult for minority borrowers to obtain. these obstacles have diminished eight pool of minority, low-income and first time buyers who are entering the housing market. which in turn has an effect on existing homeowners who are looking to move up, to move into a larger home. existing homeowners seeking to
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improve the home and they're also being prevented from financing or outgaining home-equity loans. additionally, here in baltimore we've been suffering from high foreclosure rates throughout the subprime meltdown, and this is continued. foreclosure rates in the greater baltimore area rose will be on the national average, and even increased from the year before. the foreclosure pipeline late mortgage payments 90 days or more is also on rise in the greater baltimore area, increasing from the year before. these are alarming trends, and should cause all of us concern. all combined, this creates a very difficult challenge to baltimore city as we work to create new opportunities for our families and our neighborhoods. we have sent out an ambitious goal of growing baltimore by 10,000 families over the next 10 years, and in order to do so we mustn't of our school system, reduce crime, create economic opportunity to our residents. at a vital part of this effort
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is in making homeownership a priority. impact on monday we announced a new public-private partnership with wells fargo to provide $4.5 million with a $15,000 grants to provide homeownership assistance. these forgivable grants to new homeowners will help families move into the homes that they want. what's more, the new program supports our ongoing effort by blight elimination program by providing people for the opportunity to combine various, a bright of incentive programs. and by doing so being able to bring tens of thousands of dollars to the settlement table. still without access to mortgages, our efforts, all of these efforts will be for not and will make the job of growing the city, and by extension, our nations economy, that much more difficult. that's why today's discussion is so important that we need to find ways to increase opportunities to families here and throughout the country. thank you again for my invitation to speak to you
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today. thank you for being in baltimore. i hope you have a fruitful discussion in my hometown. you are always welcome back. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, mayor blake. am a half the bureau i also like to extend wishes for a speedy recovery to congresswoman donna edwards. she was to join us today, but, unfortunately, sprained her ankle. we hope it heals quickly. next is the bureaus richard cordray. richard cordray became the cfpb's first director a little over a year ago on january 4, 2012. director cordray. [applause] >> let me say thank you to
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everyone, including our elected leaders, for joining us today a >> mayor drawing blanks, for such a strong supporter of the consumer bureau and its work. i also want to acknowledge public officials, leading public officials who sent statue representing here today, key staff who will report back, senator mikulski, ruppersberger, ben holland and representative tears. into so much for your interest in our work. we appreciated. we take a responsibility to fulfill the will of congress very seriously as with a mortgage rules we are announcing today. so thank you for joining us today as we announce our ability to repay rule, a rule designed to ensure that lenders their offering mortgages that consumers can actually afford to pay back. this is a simple, obvious principle that needs to be re-established in the housing market. it is nothing more than the true essence of responsible lending. the ability-to-repay rule gets
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at the heart of the lending standards used in this country to sell mortgages to consumers. it comes against the backdrop of two distinctly different mortgage markets that we have experienced over the past decade. in the run-up to the financial crisis, we had a housing market that was reckless about lending money. it was driven by assumptions about property values that turned out to be badly wrong. it had dysfunctional incentives, with lenders being able to off-load virtually any mortgage into the secondary market regardless of the quality of the underwriting. there was broad indifference to the ability of many consumers to be able to repay their loans. as a result, we experienced the worst financial crisis since the great depression. the collapse of the housing market destroyed businesses and jobs across every economic sector and in communities all across the country. the american dream of homeownership was shaken to its foundations. household wealth shrank by
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trillions of dollars. the stock market plummeted. people's life savings were devastated. people lost their jobs. people lost their homes. people lost their hope and confidence in the future. now, in the wake of the financial crash, we have been experiencing a housing market that is tough on people in just the opposite way, credit is achingly tight. since 2008, most mortgages are being priced on very attractive terms. but access to credit has become so highly constrained that many consumers cannot borrow to buy a house even with strong credit. both periods have hurt individuals and families who simply seek to fulfill the promise of the american dream of homeownership. our goal with the ability-to-repay rule is to make sure that people who work hard to buy their own home can be assured of not only greater consumer protections but also reasonable access to credit so they can get a sustainable mortgage. let me tell you two sets of
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stories that reflect the problems i am talking about. earlier this year, a california man named henry wrote to the consumer bureau. his home was in the process of being foreclosed on and he was desperate. during the overheated years, a lender had sold him a mortgage for more than half a million dollars, far more than he could afford on his annual salary of less than $50,000. and despite various provisions in the original loan, he was now arriving at the point of financial ruin. henry said that when he got the mortgage, he assumed that the lender knew what it was doing by qualifying him for such a large loan. when he wrote to us, he was worried not only about losing his home, but about losing his family's entire future. as we all know, henry was not alone. people across the country were sold mortgages that were not sustainable. some had their eyes open, seeking to ride the wave of rising housing prices.
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others, like henry, were led astray. for many borrowers, the numbers were ignored or fudged to get the loan approved. this kind of reckless lending was an endemic problem. i firmly believe that if the ability-to-repay rule we are announcing today had existed a decade ago, many people like henry could have been spared the anguish of losing their homes and having their credit destroyed. the events that caused the financial crisis might well have been averted. the tragic reverberations that continue to affect so many americans today would never have occurred. in contrast, consider these more recent situations. anthony from new york contacted us earlier this year to describe how after years of building a strong credit report, he now finds that even with a solid credit score and money saved for a substantial down payment, he cannot get approved for a mortgage. after all those years of carefully managing his money, he has found that the current market has become so tight that he cannot get the approval he needs. and the slowdown in the mortgage market is holding back consumers in other ways too. we heard from a couple in
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michigan who have credit scores in the 800s and simply want to refinance their home, which is now worth much more than the original mortgage loan, at the current lower rates. yet they cannot get approved because there were no comparable sales in their neighborhood over the last twelve months. having the important ability-to-repay rule in place, indeed, having all of the mortgage rules in place and on sound footing, is an essential foundation for our much-needed recovery in mortgage lending. we believe this rule does exactly what it is supposed to do. it protects consumers and helps strengthen the housing market by rooting out reckless and unsustainable lending, while enabling safer lending. in the end, the ability-to-repay rule will help ensure that lenders and consumers share the same basic financial incentives, both of them win when borrowers can afford their loans. it also recognizes the importance of restoring reliability to the marketplace. when consumers sit down at the closing table, they should be
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able to have confidence that they are not being set up to fail. with this confidence, consumers can be more active participants in the market once again. they can choose the product they believe is best for them from among a wide variety of products, and they can decide what they are willing to pay to finance the home they seek to own. the core of the ability-to-repay rule rests on two basic, common-sense precepts. lenders have to check on the numbers and make sure that the numbers check out. why is this so important? again, consider where we were just a few years ago in the mortgage market. leading up to the crisis, many lenders sold no-doc and low-doc loans, where consumers were qualifying for loans that were well beyond their means. a no-doc loan is one where the borrower did not have to show any financial background and resources, such as tax forms or paychecks or bank statements, none of the critical information needed to evaluate what size
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mortgage he or she could reasonably afford. some of these loans were derided as ninja loans, no income, no job, no assets, yet far too many borrowers found that they had no problem getting these loans approved. taking the actual financial background of the consumer out of the equation was problematic. the rapid spread of introductory teaser rates made a bad situation worse. low initial teaser rates led many consumers to believe they could afford to take out loans. but the payments proved too much for many consumers and caused a dramatic increase in mortgage delinquencies. that led inevitably to home foreclosures. under our new rule, lenders will have to determine a borrower's ability to repay. they will have to evaluate the borrower's income, assets, savings, and debts. and this determination will be based on both the principal and the interest on the mortgage over the long term, not just during an introductory period. under our new rule, low- and no-doc loans will be effectively
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prohibited, and affordability will be determined based on the interest rate that would prevail in the absence of any teaser rates. in these key respects, borrowers no longer will be sold mortgages that are predestined to fail. now, while congress directed the bureau to implement the ability-to-repay rule, it also directed us to define a category of loans where borrowers would be the most protected. so as part of the rule, we are releasing the criteria for what are called qualified mortgages. if you are a borrower getting a qualified mortgage, your loan is required to meet those criteria and thus, barring some unexpected turn of events, you should be able to make your house payments. under our new rules, qualified mortgages cannot contain certain features that often have harmed consumers. they cannot have excess points and fees, which are the upfront costs that a lender imposes on the borrower at the outset of a loan. they cannot be risky loans such
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where the principal amount actually increases for some period because the borrower does not even pay the interest and the unpaid interest gets added to the amount borrowed. and they cannot be loans that place a particularly large financial burden on the borrower. the consumer's total monthly debts, including the mortgage payment and related housing expenses such as taxes and insurance, generally cannot add up to more than 43% of a consumer's monthly gross income. no standard is perfect, but this standard draws a clear line that will provide a real measure of protection to borrowers and increased certainty to the mortgage market. taken together, all of the ability-to-repay provisions will help establish the principles of responsible lending for the mortgage market as it recovers from the financial crisis. but you cannot have responsible lending unless you have lending in the first place, and the mortgage market as it stands today has tightened so much that many consumers cannot borrow to buy a home even with a strong credit history. we can draw up the greatest consumer protections ever devised, but if consumers cannot get credit, then there is nothing to protect.
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our goal here is not only to stop reckless lending, but to enable consumers to access affordable credit. our ability-to-repay rule will restore more certainty to a market that was deeply destabilized by the financial crisis. by providing common-sense discipline in the housing market, this rule creates a level of assurance for all participants that will open up more access to credit for consumers. and we are helping this process along in two ways. first, we have included provisions in the rule that temporarily broaden its coverage of qualified mortgages to allow a transitional period while other parts of the government, including the congress, map a path forward toward reform of the secondary market for mortgage financing. second, we have addressed the legal consequences of a qualified mortgage by conferring the strongest legal protection on safer prime loans, while permitting borrowers to rebut the presumption of ability to repay for subprime loans. we have limited the opportunities for unnecessary litigation, however, in three ways.
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by drawing bright-line criteria to define a qualified mortgage, by specifying that sustained payment over a reasonable period is strong evidence that the borrower had the ability to repay the loan when it was made, and by specifying the circumstances under which a borrower can rebut the presumption for subprime loans. there has been some confusion about what these legal protections actually mean. they do not afford lenders complete immunity when it comes to foreclosures. for example, if a lender does not follow the qualified mortgage criteria, then the lender does not enjoy the legal protection of a qualified mortgage. and the protections conferred on borrowers under other federal consumer financial protection laws still apply. thus, the ability-to-repay rule does not take away any consumer rights. it adds to them. and for lenders who make qualified mortgages or determine the consumer's ability to repay over the life of the loan, this rule will foster consumer confidence and improve conditions in the marketplace.
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while working on the ability-to-repay rule, we came to another important recognition. many have said, including myself, that community banks and credit unions did not cause the financial crisis. their traditional model of relationship lending has been beneficial for many people in rural areas and small towns across this country, including the small town in ohio where i was born and raised. they find ways to make loans that respond to personal situations and cannot be captured by any generic metrics. they depend on keeping a good reputation in the community, and they often hold those loans in their own portfolio. accordingly, they have strong incentives to pay close attention to the borrower's ability to repay. so today we will also be proposing a further adjustment to the ability-to-repay rule to create a special category of qualified mortgage loans made by smaller lenders such as community banks and credit unions. this proposal also contains measures to ensure that nonprofit groups and state
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housing agencies that lend to low- and moderate-income families can continue to play a vital role in the housing market. these groups offer a valuable range of financing and support, from down-payment assistance to first-time homebuyer programs to construction programs that build up communities one beam at a time. we look forward to considering your feedback, which has been so helpful to us in resolving the many difficult challenges posed by the ability-to-repay rule. we have adopted today's rule after analyzing extensive comments and considerable data. we have listened to people with many different perspectives and stakes in the housing and mortgage markets. we have met with large providers, small providers, community groups, consumer organizations, and public officials from every branch and level of government. the work done by our team on this rule has been marked by their tremendous talent and dedication. and yet their work is not done. we have a responsibility not just to write a rule, but to see
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that lenders put it into place effectively so that its promise for consumers becomes reality. and we also want to help lenders implement the rule smoothly and minimize unnecessary burdens. so we have hired a mortgage industry veteran to coordinate these efforts. we also will be working closely with industry over the next year to aid and support implementation of the ability-to-repay rule and all of our other mortgage rules. we will publish plain-language translations of the rules in booklet and video form for lenders and other key players in the real estate market. we will field questions and offer suggestions to help lenders determine how to implement the rules. and in coordination with our fellow agencies, we will publish materials that help lenders understand supervisory expectations. as the effective date approaches, we will also give consumers information about their new rights under these rules. on a final note, i believe it is entirely fitting that this rule, one of our most important to date, would focus on making sure
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that lenders pay close attention to whether borrowers are able to repay their loans. it is fitting because it brings us back to the very origins of our mission. five years ago, then-professor elizabeth warren wrote a groundbreaking article entitled unsafe at any rate. in it, she asked why we had made it impossible to buy a toaster with a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house, yet it was still possible to finance a home purchase with an exploding mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of causing your family to be put out on the street. she advocated that financial products should be subject to regulatory oversight because the pain imposed by a dangerous credit product is even more insidious than that inflicted by a malfunctioning kitchen appliance. spurred by the tragedy of an intervening financial crisis, congress and the president took action and her vision became the consumer financial protection bureau. as the american mortgage market
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ebbs and flows, the new consumer bureau has been charged with the duty to protect responsible lending in the housing market for borrowers, lenders, and everyone else who is engaged in our economic life. we have been working hard, and we will continue to work hard, to do just that. thank you. [applause] >> at this time i'd like to invite all the panelists to join the stage, and while they are taking their seats i want to also thank those who are joining the field hearings by live stream. you can follow cfpb on facebook and on twitter at at cfpb. so cfpb's deputy director raj date will lead the panel of experts through brief statements and q&a.
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raj date has had a long and very career in and around u.s. financial institutions as a strategy consultant, a bank executive and on wall street. previously he served as special advisor to the secretary of the treasury for the cfpb, and as the bureaus associate director for research markets and regulation. in 2009, deputy director raj date founded and served as chairman and executive director of the cambridge winter center for financial institutions policy. a private nonprofit research and policy organization that supported reform to the u.s. financial system. deputy director, you have the for. >> think you. thank you all for being here. i'd like to start just by reiterating something that was said by senator cardin anthony kim i director cordray. just to remind everyone that the cpb is a start up agency. we were established him to a net years ago. reopen for business a year and a half ago.
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-- we opened for business a year and half ago. i'm proud of what we have accomplished. just as important as what we do is how we try to do it. we try to be disciplined, data-driven and tough-minded that at the same time would try to make sure that we are open and transparent and collaborative with stakeholders around the very important work that we are doing. we tried to make sure that we have every deadline, and we never forget who it is that we work for, which is the american consumer. doing all of that is hard work, and it takes human toll on people. i just wanted to pause to think the astonishing work of the staff at the bureau, led by david silverman who is our head of research and marketing regulations. i would like to mostly because i can, run through some the people who have done astonishing work. calico runs a regulations team which includes panels, and stephen, tom, courtney, and
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jennifer, a research economist who do such terrific empirical work backgrounds this effort as well as others led by jesse, ron, alexia, tim. our mortgage market team led by pete carroll over here to the directors left, including such terrific team members. and, of course, our legal division, roberto gonzalez and stephen and ponder. all doing terrific work on this rulemaking, and i personally could not be more proud or grateful for the work that's been done. [applause] >> there's always a danger when you just try to come up with everyone. you inevitably miss someone and they are angry at you. i've always been very comfortable with people being angry at me, so i don't mind. let me just talk a little bit
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about what it is we'd like to publish during this component of our public hearing. as director cordray talked about, the ability to repay rule is focus on solving real problems, the problems that when they manifested themselves had a devastating impact on mortgage market, on the housing market, and on the real economy. to help us calibrate within the context of the impact of this new rule, and the portly to help us with cleaning a perspective on where the marketplace and consumers interaction with it might move from here, we have assembled to terrific panels. which together have deep insights and perspectives on the experience of consumers, and experience of lenders, and, indeed, the experience of the mortgage finance market broadly. i'd like, i would like to introduce that panel, and then ask each of our panelists to provide a brief opening statement. these are really terrific people who joined us. and augusta and the that they're
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so terrific, we will ask them to be quite brief in the opening remarks but let me first introduce you to all of them. over on my far left inside is michael calhoun, president of, president for the center for responsible lending. next event is lisa rice, vice president of the national fair housing alliance. then alys cohen, staff attorney for the national consumer law center. and then if i move all the way to my right inside, susan wachter who is a professor for state and finance at wharton school at the university of pennsylvania. david moskowitz is deputy general counsel at wells fargo, and karen thomas, senior executive vice president of government relations at the independent community bankers association of america. thank you all for being here. and perhaps we might start with you, mr. calhoun. >> thank you. today, the cfpb announces one of its most important rules, a
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qualified mortgage ability-to-repay rule, along with the upcoming mortgage servicing rules that will come out next week, address failures in the mortgage market, the devastated -- a devastating millions of families and our overall economic. twin drivers of this were widespread, unaffordable loans, and a broken mortgage servicing system that severely aggravated the ensuing wave of foreclosures. the goal of the dodd-frank legislation, the rule today, our to redirect incentives so that lenders are encouraged to make loans that are long-term and sustainable. not just generators of short-term fees, and to also deter and prohibit abusive practices such as the infamous 2/28 exploding loans, and broker
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incentives to steer borrowers to more expensive, less sustainable loans. at the same time as noted, we need to provide more access to these sustainable loans. the rule being announced, implemented, reinforces the key protections mandated by dodd-frank. and appropriately targets the strongest protection at the riskiest loans. it will provide substantial certainty of protection for lenders in order to encourage apple access to credit. there remain several key provisions as discussed in comments earlier. ..
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bringing a wave of claims for discouraging lenders. indeed there have been who consumer claims notwithstanding the historic recent practices. rather, the market rightfully lost faith in the quality and safety of mortgages because of the assets of basic protection which generated the race to the bottom where that tripped up loans dominated consumers and investors alike such as with credit cards or the adoption of
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common sense reforms has produced a transparent and competitive market that a better service consumers and lenders alike. so in summary there fully implementing the dodd-frank mortgage protection and enacting substantial reform to the mortgage servicing. works well for families, for lenders and the economy. thank you. >> thank you mr. keller. >> thank you so much for inviting me to participate in this very important hearing. the national fair housing alliance like the mayor shared the same concern that the market would be very narrowly prescribed and so we are happy to see that is broadly defined and that there are also no down
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payments or credit scoring requirements for the loans. we are also pleased that the cftc's intentions for protecting consumers for irresponsible mortgage lending. it still remains a concern about the possibility for reinforcing america's dole credit market in which communities of color have been relegated to the non-prime markets and high-cost loans. the dole credit market as we all know helped create the nation's worst housing crisis. the rules establish a tiered system, one where some loans have the presumption and others have a safe harbor. the national fair housing alliance strongly advocated for a scenario which all loans would have a very strong presumption because we felt that would lend
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the greatest protection to consumers. remember that in that mortgage transaction it's always the lender that has superior knowledge over the consumer and the transaction. so, we have to be very vigilant and ever mindful and watchful with the system to make sure that the clearing of the mortgage doesn't perpetuate a situation where we have furtherance of the dole credit markets. we of course don't have to look any further than right here in this city of baltimore for evidence of the effect of the old mortgage market. one of the largest cases of discrimination was brought by the city of baltimore on behalf of its african-american and latino residents who had received some prime and higher cost sustainable mortgages when they actually qualified for the lower-cost and sustainable
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mortgages. hud, doj and others have brought a fair record of claims revealing hundreds of thousands of borrowers were discriminated against when they obtained their mortgage loan. and many of these discriminatory actions of course have fled to the borrowers being under water or even losing their homes. one of the things we are heartened by is the prominence of the office of fair lending and equal opportunity which of course is house does the cftc. this office is charged with ensuring that the roads and the ability to repay would be implemented and a fair manner and that the cftc's supervision and enforcement efforts are comprehensive and diligent. it's also important to note the safe harbor provision does not exempt lenders from discrimination or fair lending claims. even those that receive a safe harbor mortgage or a qualified
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mortgage can experience discrimination. so that's a very important point to keep in mind. but also be important to ensure compensation schemes didn't contribute to consumers receiving higher cost mortgages when they qualified for lower-cost products. we know that certain compensation schemes help spur the crisis. the cftc would therefore need to be very careful to not interpret this rule or to promulgate any other rule that would allow for a compensation scheme. we commend this efp for releasing this rule and we will do all that we can to ensure that the world provides fair and equal access for all consumers. >> thank you very much. there is audio feed back then i thought was at first a practical joke someone was running every time you say qm let me use my engineering knowledge now if that would help us.
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in the case with ms. cohen. >> thank you for the opportunity to testify today. i testify today on behalf of the national consumer law center's and the national association of consumer advocates. we appreciate the vigorous and thorough work to read regulation of the mortgage market under dodd-frank is essential to our economic security. in the years leading up to the economic crisis, pricing replaced underwriting as a riss control mechanism in the sub prime market. lenders rely on the securitizations for the cost of the inevitable foreclosure. foreclosure devastated communities across the country particularly communities of color. congress's mandate in dodd-frank is clear the lenders must take reasonable steps to ensure that every mortgage loan is affordable when made and
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homeowners that under reached have recourse. the consumer financial protection bureau regulation implants important new protections for the sustainable lending they fail to deliver those protections. the bureau offers a rebuttable presumption for the sub prime borrowers for the homeowners and the soon to be emerging markets to seek redress if they receive a qualified mortgage that the lender should have known was nevertheless unaffordable. this important backstop against the abuse of lending will not be available in the prime market. the safe harbor the year award for the prime loans provides shelter to the lenders to make an affordable loans and direct violation of congressional intent. while the qualified mortgage definition guards against many abuses of the recent crisis, without a rebuttable presumption is the new law will flourish. for example, a 43% debt to income ratio in that role is a
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helpful starting point and maybe a reasonable standard for a homeowner earning $10,000 per month but for a homeowner only during $1,000 per month, 43% does not leave enough to pay the utility bills and other essentials. a residual income analysis that was the actual cash available is essential and assessing the loan affordability for the low income earners. and the adjustable rate mortgages with exploding payments can meet the qualified mortgage definition so long as the payments increase after the initial period covers the world. the bureau intends to seek further comment on the treatment of the yield spread premium. payments by lenders to broker the upscale homeowners with the expense of homes. the payments must be clearly and fully included in the cap as they are in the statute. to avoid the resurgence by the broker. it limits on compensation are not enough. a rebuttal for the resumption
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doesn't create significant litigation risk for the market. few homeowners find an attorney and fewer prevail. individual homeowners facing heavy factual burden to overcome and deutsch the fact the intensive nature of the class action are not viable. the bureau qualified mortgage and a prime market a rose the progress made with dodd-frank combined with the market wide lone man of the cade to the come modification mandate this may still leave homeowners and the market vulnerable to the future crisis. thank you. >> ms. cohen, thank you. thank you for being here. may we have your statement? >> thank you. while there is much work to be done to repair the nation's housing market, the steps taken today are important. these are landmark once for the future of the nation's housing finance systems.
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a safe and sound of mortgage system must be built on trust. trust with mortgage underwriting has integrity and are known and controlled. today's debate could today is a long way to bring in a trust that the mortgage finance system. it does so not by prohibiting mortgage products, but rather, by establishing standards to ensure that underwriting risks in the of origination of mortgage loans are known. we've come through a crisis of historic dimensions. elsewhere, alladi and co-authors have noted that at the root of the failure of the mortgage system for informational problems that prevented mortgage participants from knowing and pricing the risk of mortgage product. at the heart of the problems was a failure to properly assess the
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borrower's ability to repay the mortgage. only in retrospect can we see how severe the failure was. in real time, market participants could not have known how many mortgages were issued to the borrowers who didn't have the income to pay principal interest payment fees, etc.. as a result, consumers and market participants underestimated the likelihood of those and indeed the system failure had resulted. the housing finance system is more than a market for profit. it is a social contract that can enable safe and sustainable homeownership. when we abuse that contract, we do not simply harm the economy, we were all our citizens of their trust in this american institution. ensuring the ability to repay more than a precaution it is an
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essential ingredient in the fair treatment the citizens deserve as borrowers and consumers and as americans. the new rule announced today will put us on a path to restore the integrity of the system. thank you. >> thank you, professor wachter. mr. moskowitz. >> thank you, director dante and cordray and the exhausted bureau staff for reaching this momentous day. the publication of the ability to pay is a tremendous importance to american consumers and to help achieve stability in the mortgage market and to solidify sustainable homeownership. we have long believed a qualified mortgage definition under the world is the best way to support a robust origination and the primary mortgage market and to enhance liquidity in the
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secondary market. the qualified mortgage rule codifies a strong nationwide ability to repay standards that when consistently applied well protected as consumers and assure the availability of credit. it will also help ensure qualified loans are available across the entire credit spectrum. the release of this rule is an important milestone and the true inspect to the conduct will not be made operational by lenders over the course of a year ahead and we applaud the bureau's commitment to implement the process will be transparent and flexible and will result in the best outcome. we appreciate the faeroe and inclusive approach that they've taken in developing the rule and we complement the bureau's willingness to engage the stakeholders to consider new information perspectives and to develop a balanced ruled that protect consumers while ensuring that they remain broadly accessible. the bureau's decision last year
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to reopen the combat process fostered deeper dialogue about the role of consumers' debt to income ratio in the qualified mortgages and identified issues with litigation risks and related consumer costs. in addition, the bureau has rightly placed significant emphasis on collaborating with other regulators including the federal reserve board and the federal housing finance agency. we urge the bureau to continue to support the partnership with other important regulations or finalize particularly the qualified residential mortgage rule. the relationship they represent a framework for the implementation of the ability to repay the requirements but it won't answer of the questions will arise during the implementation. other factors that are still outstanding that are important results over the months ahead are importance of fha reform, credible gse reform and a proper evolution of those issues. these will help assure stability and certainty in the markets. we are looking forward to
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working with the bureau in the months ahead on the implementation and to commend the bureau of its staff again for its expertise and commitment to stabilizing the market and ensuring the availability of credit across the spectrum. >> thank you, mr. moskowitz. ms. thomas coming your statement and i think that we will have better luck with the microphone i'm told if you put quite a bit closer to you. >> thank you. directors khator, thank you for convening today's field hearing on mortgage policy. i'm very pleased to be here to represent the views of the nation's 7,000 community banks. community banks play an important role in the nation's economy and in the mortgage finance. they are locally owned and operated institutions, and they have a very strong ties to their customers. it's a reliable source of credit for home purchases. community banks have a vested
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interest in the economic well-being of their customers and communities. the business model is relationship based, not transaction based. the did not engage in the lending and servicing practices that contributed to the recent financial and foreclosure crisis. they are responsible common sense lenders and the low default on the mortgage loans that were originated by community banks to bear this out. icba understands to prevent mortgage adduces from occurring in the future and to stabilize the housing market. nevertheless, we are concerned that the plethora of are the great changes in the consumer market policy could further stymie the housing market and community banks' ability to provide mortgage loans to their customers. for this reason, which emerged this efp and other regulators to tailor the rules of the do not inherit the bank's ability to provide mortgages to the many community bank mortgage loans
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are held in portfolio and they are not sold on the secondary market so the banks have a vested interest in how the loans perform. and accordingly they are underwriting for these loans has historically been more conservative. many of these loans are not cookie cutter loans found in the suburban and urban markets. they are made to the borrowers who cannot qualify for the secondary market alone and not because they don't have the ability to repay that because their properties may be unique, they may be a large parcel or half outbuildings that don't qualify for the secondary market and like the example the director mentioned earlier, it may not be comparable sales in the requisite geographic area or timeframe to qualify for the secondary market funds. but community banks are especially adept at making the loans because the bankers know their customers and have extensive knowledge of the housing market in the local community. the standards and definitions in
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the qualified mortgage ability to prepay rules will have far-reaching impact in the mortgage market. borrowers on the wrong side of the q m will not be able to get the mortgage they want or they will pay considerably more for it. many community banks will cease or significantly curtail mortgage lending if there were only a rebuttable presumption of compliance for qualified mortgages. this is because they simply would not be able to exhort the compliance and litigation risks to be there for they have strongly advocated the will provide a safe harbor for loans deemed to be qualified mortgages could we have also urged community bank mortgage loans housing portfolio and service for the life of the loan received this legal safe harbor. we are pleased the bureau recognize these concerns and crafting the final rule and proposed amendment. we believe the safe harbor for qualified mortgages which concludes the balloon payment mortgages will enable the
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nation's community banks to continue to serve their clients and communities while providing safe, sound, and affordable mortgage credit. we look forward to working with the bureau as the rulemaking process moves forward to the community banks recognize that mortgage finance is now at a crossroads and we urged policymakers to continue to take the path that will enable community banks to provide mortgage loans to their customers so that these can achieve homeownership. thank you. >> thank you very much. we would like to do is take a few minutes for myself and my colleagues in the bureau to follow-up on these issues in the statement, and i will take the liberty to be perhaps by asking the consumer panel to elaborate on one thing, the ability to repay the rule qualified mortgage definition are solving important problems. they are not intended or could one imagine it being some kind of a global panacea. but what in the context of other
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protections that already exists or were created by dodd-frank, how is it your view the impact of this moving forward, this to begin with you. >> thank you. the ability to pay requirement is a part of the truth in lending act which has been around for several decades and it's built on the notion of being the answer -- this provision is a disclosure matter in addition the fairness is a key part of the house and functioning market that will enable that to occur and have been issued by an agency that for the first time has its main goal and focus the benefit of consumers is also a novel set of
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relations and a novel paradigm this is the first significant mortgage rule and we congratulate you to estimate what the microphone works this time. thanks for the question, and it's a very important one. one of the things that we advocated for in the lead up to the crisis for the regulators to adopt the -- and -- with
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marketplace what it does do is take says in that direction of establishing uniform that is based safety standard for all mortgage loans in america. 63. mr. calhoun. >> one of the reasons this rule is important is it sets not only apply to this rule but to be adopted another important ways for the legislative proposals the government agencies in sure loans and qualified mortgages
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and relates legally has tied to the rule that addresses what this does to set aside extra capital for those loans that are not q m so it not only provides a definition for this particular rule it is seen by the standards that will largely find the market and it does so three categories coming out of today's rule. the idea is the rule sets of incentives to align those lenders and borrowers so that to make a prime q m loan, the
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borrower could have a strong likelihood of success in that loan. in this of prime space it's important that even before the housing crisis, those loans carry very significant risk for the borrower. the organization data shows that before the crisis back in the late 1990's, 2000, if you took out a subprimal loan, the chances are one out of three you would end up losing that home. so, appropriately those would prevail with great care and the category not addressed today the rules affect the so-called high-cost loans. so today's market that would be a little bit more than 10% interest most people get today.
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they should be limited to extraordinary circumstances and the direction comes close to hitting that. >> i would invite one of my colleagues to disconnect this next question is for professor wachter. the ability to repay rules are the lead up to the financial crisis what might this mean for consumers? >> in the run-up to the crisis, the borrowers may have to prove that lenders were in the business of offering the repaid loans. but in the event many were not repaid. i believe this would have prevented loans from being made and prevented much suffering to
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the borrowers in the american community in that important step forward. >> thank you. this next question is for lisa most folks would generally agree that underwriting is to loosen the crisis would this rule would mean for extending access into the non-the prime mortgage space? >> the first predatory lending case that i worked on was in the early 1990's. a single headed households owned her home in toledo ohio for decades. she had a prime mortgage that she had been paying. she had a stellar credit and was convinced to refinance at of the
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prime sustainable mortgage into a sub prime loan to get a debt consolidation loan and she was convinced to do this because the lender told her you're going to have one payment and that appealed to her because she was on a fixed income. the lender was going to pay off all her other debt. of course you know the story. at the closing table all of the conditions were completely changed on the head. she got a subprimal loan that the interest-rate more than doubled the prime rate, and of course the lender didn't pay off all of her debt. so her debt to income from her total debt to income ratio of course skyrocketed and she realized what happened to her until after the loan had closed. so, i elite that story because it typifies in my experience what i have seen with consumers
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over and over and over again and that is that consumers who qualify for the prime credit in the sub subprime market "the wall street journal" commissioned a study not long ago, several years ago in which they lifted certain advantages on the subprime loans and they found over 61% of the folks that had got subprime loans qualified for the prime loans so it's our hope that we don't think of access as safe, sound, called the access to the kuhl credit. i think of it as a well with all of these folks and the ability to pay standard and the qualified mortgage standard are two of the spokes in the wheel the necessary, necessary to make sure that we have access to the sustainable and affordable quality credits. so, i think it's very important for us going forward, and i
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think that not only is it important for making sure that we are extending credit in the non-prime sector but also it's an important component, one of the important components to making sure that consumers that do qualify for the lower cost mortgages can get those loans. >> thanks, lisa. this next question is for alys cohen with the national law center. in the context of the qualified mortgage definition in your opinion what is the regrettable presumption of the compliance for consumers? >> thank you. but we applaud the bureau for the detailed rebuttable presumption for the -- subprime borrowers in their rule we look forward to reading it. triet it's an articulated reason
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for rebutting that presumption. so the rebuttable presumption is the opportunity to show your loan was for seeley on affordable when it was made even if it meets the definition of a qualified mortgage while the qualified mortgage division promotes more suitable landing there are always gaps like there were after hopa a new product developed. the rebuttable presumption helps address those instances. but beyond consumers, the issue relates to how the market functions. the main goal is for sustainable lending and good behavior. the limited liability in the presumption steals them away from the affordable loans. the structure of having a safe harbor for prime loans in the rebuttable presumption for the sub subprime loans and more lending in the prime space.
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but the legal insulation of the safe harbor lenders would also push the envelope. abuses migrate to the unregulated portion of the market because the homeowner has no chance to show the loan wasn't affordable. it will provide a more robust set of protection for the most vulnerable bar were, those with subprime loans. credit is right now, its tight not because of the lender overreaching that cost to the crisis, not because of any litigation risks caused by consumer claims. the rebuttable presumption leads to the market recovery while creating incentives for fair lending. is that this next question is for david moskowitz. on the ability to read a requirements how do you think about the basic underwriting
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practices. estimates entirely consistent how we think about the underwriting in the establishment of consistent ability to read a standards and in the past lenders are subject to different abilities to meet the standards or no standards at all or standards that apply only to the portions of the market. to many smaller players who were not invested in the long term success of their customers who either don't retain a certain to keep the loan on their books with 30 utilize the underwriting standards that were not sufficiently focused on the ability to repay. the market would have been better off if it were consistent underwriting standards in effect across the industry that was clear there was no departure from them so we think of the ability to repay is entirely consistent with the bureau approach and fundamental to the sustainable homeownership. and as said at the beginning, it's a simple and obvious principle and an ability to
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repay would result in the approval of the application process only when the loan to believes they have the ability to repay the loan in accordance with its term and its basic underwriting 101 in the final blow that increased the concept and applied universally would help assure sustainable homeownership and fulfill the requirements for the underwriting. summit next question is for care in thomas. how are smaller community the house of three institutions in the replay rule? >> thank you. well, at the outset, looking at the proposal, frankly but trepidation on our and sidey -- anxiety a lot of regulations and the regulatory burden is kind of born of practices that community banks engage in from an assembly kind of gets out and they enjoy
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the regulatory burden that goes along with it. so they're very concerned not about the ability to repay but after all as i describe the community banks mix of loans but certainly that's what they do, take into account the ability of their customers to repay. but they are more concerned about the renovation and their ability to be flexible and provide loans that don't necessarily fit that cookie cutter mold. but at the same time in the run-up to the financial crisis they watch customers have come into their banks and didn't qualify for a loan the community bank would make. they would walk down the street and get the loan from somebody else and those are the kind of loans that later on blew up and caused damage to the customers. so they certainly understand the emphasis for the rule.
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thus efp has been wide open to the community banks in the course and we have been very grateful for that. you can see that some of the details of the role take into account the community banks. it will come out today, and we look forward to reading about those details but on the first look, we are encouraged by it the community banks will be taken into account. as we move to the implementation and understanding of devotee, the community banks will let us know where the sticking points are there are special rules and our bankers will be looking as well to see if their operations are in the definition triet so things will unfold over time. it was one piece although arguably the most important
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piece of the market reform that the csb is working on -- cfpb is working on the are also going to impact community bank mortgage operations, and we have to be careful that is the cumulative burden of all of this that has pushed some community banks out of the mortgage market. i want to give you an example. the federal reserve adopted the requirement rules for certain mortgages. there are many community banks that have very low mortgage volumes so they didn't have the operation. now they were required to have. they couldn't provide that to their customers so they had to cut off the mortgage lending that they do and that is a result that we want to avoid because we want community banks to stay in this marketplace and to be the will to observe their customers.
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>> we want to take a couple seconds to the multiplicity of the policy initiatives underway with respect to the mortgage business but more broadly, presumably to move through a credit crisis and financial crisis and the magnitude of which we have suffered through and a great many things have to go along the abusive practices, credit decisions, undercapitalized firms and vehicles and structures but to read a great deal of reform efforts are under way. this role clearly doesn't do anything but in that context perhaps how do you view the role or the importance of this rule about a recovery in the mortgage market? >> the announcement and implementation of the rule will profound the advance the
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recovery in the housing market for at least three ways. first it sets its important baseline of standards for mortgages. one of the things in this housing crisis is while many other countries had housing bubbles, the united states stood out as having the worst call the mortgages. people were not only struck with declining house prices in the united states, they couldn't afford the basic mortgage itself except for by refinancing and what was lawfully a never-ending appreciating market. so, it addresses that which is the flaw in the housing market of the united states and for its clarity for the secondary market and those that provide capital for mortgages have a profound effect on which mortgages are offered. it's not just a decision of the
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lender or even a substantial bank itself it's whether they can sell the loan into the secondary market and most important what are the risks of that and in contrast, virtually no anbar litigation coming out of this housing crisis that has been a tremendous number of investor claims from both private investors and government claims, so called by back claims were able to force the lenders to buy back the sold mortgages and two of sort -- of sort of the costs. it is anticipated widely that those purchasers in the secondary market will require the lenders to certify their loans meet the standards as one of the places where the standard will have a big impact. the announce today a couple of the market. they originated alone and it
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meets that standard and that means when they sell it into the secondary market they don't to risks, they will have to buy it back one day. finally it validates the good work of thus -- of the cfpb. it was a change in the regulatory world and there was a good bit of tanks and tear in the industry that would impose unreasonable proposals, and not dig into the data and the operational concerns of the consumer markets. and i think by this rule, and by the comments you heard today, it is clear that they did so and they produce a rule that is designed to help consumers also the work for the industries so that there will be credit available. >> thank you. perhaps, professor wachter, i could ask an interesting question of you. if you can imagine the ability
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to read a rule is a necessary but not sufficient condition for the return to a sensible and more vibrant mortgage lending market. what else has to happen? what are the markers that we as market participants and consumers and regulators should be looking for on that return? >> they are on the mortgage servicing rules and of course the qrm. we've read and relied and on the federal mortgage system and need to bring private capital in we need to arrive at a consensus on the structure is. nevertheless the cfpb is to be congratulated putative this is a major step forward. it is a major achievement. >> thank you. in the spirit of doing hard work
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and doing it well and on time. the valuable perspective as to what the rulemaking process thank you and we will move to the next phase of the public hearing. [applause] it's time to hear from audience participants here today. i am told that the audience includes community leader advocates, industry representatives and consumers. the open microphone portion of today's field hearing is an opportunity for the cfpb to hear about your experiences with mortgages and to share your observation. which person will have one to
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two minutes to tell the bureau of their story and to share their observation. and what we hear from you is in valuable. we want to hear from as many of you as possible, so i strongly encourage you to please refer to the two minute limit so that as many folks as synnott to share their observation have the opportunity to do so. with that, i would like to call up our first audience participant. one of our staff will bring a microphone to you. >> thank you. thank you for the opportunity to speak today. dr. cordray, members of the bureau. we appreciate you coming to baltimore. i am the executive director of the system of rights coalition
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for fairness and justice to the american consumers for recent advocacy and april the homeowner in baltimore city to the it thank you. i appreciate all of the work the bureau has done on these rules. home ownership as we know is an avenue for wealth abuilding especially low and moderate income families. we know that these families need to increase their assets and home-equity for their families such as higher education we know this is particularly true families of color so we know the work that you are doing is incredibly important for all of our families especially low and moderate income families. it's imperative that the mortgage lending rules developed the needs of the financial institutions and consumers, and it's important that it opens up more access to credit as well as standards for the borrowers and
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lenders. our concern right now is that as written, the rule was too much to protect banks and not working families. the safe harbor in the mortgage rule provides a financial institution and most of the liability around the devotee to repay. our concern is that as the rules defined most mortgages are qualified and will be shielded from lawsuits. the safe harbor provision to protect financial conservators' out to sea we believe there should be there rebuttable consumption for all loans. we also believe it assumes the financial institutions have underwriting like evidence to the contrary over the past ten years. we understand the impetus of the rule and the motivation. however, we know that banks and
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financial institutions should have always been engaged and that hasn't been the case. we hold the rule will go further to address that for consumers but the sifry strong concerns about the safe harbor provision. the conclusion of the debt to income ratio may price of low and moderate income families who would like to purchase a loan and to look at that issue we appreciate the work you have been doing and we would like to make sure that we engage people on the ground on these issues. >> thank you for your comment and for the work that you do in baltimore. our next audience for this event is gamut milan.
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>> i work for the baltimore public school system and i am here to represent not only the latino community but all americans that have been struggling. [inaudible] that's why everybody is here. i have a complaint with the agency because i have a subprime loan with an interest rate of 6.87% and in three years it is going to go up to $700.
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i never was able to get that modification and i am happy now [inaudible] but now i'm wondering what actually your agency is going to be doing for people like me that are struggling to make their home payments. i think that we live in a great country and definitely we can make our dreams come true if we work hard. we are all accountable for what we do [inaudible] all the complaints that the make
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sure [inaudible] >> thank you tbi ensure you have the staff in washington, d.c. looking up their complaints. we have your contact information and we will make sure the staff follows up with you. thank you for your work with the baltimore public school system. our next audience participant is mike warren. do we have rod staff? >> thank you. i'm president and ceo of ceq here in maryland and i also year-and-a-half of the credit union national association. first of all, we kill the agency is generally developed an approach regarding safe harbor for low-priced mortgage loans
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and rebuttable presumption for higher priced loans should be workable for consumers while avoiding disruptions in the mortgage market based on lenders that increase liability and so on. we commend your efforts on this issue. we also appreciate the bureau is allowing it to maria dissention from the qualified mortgage general 43% debt to income ratio for the loans that would meet the eligibility requirements of the gse so we appreciate that as well. and however, we remain concerned that there may be instances where higher debt to income ratio may be appropriate for certain borrowers especially that as we deal with our own members and we know the credit unions do and what they do for the members and so we will be closely reviewing this aspect of the final rule. given the scope of the rulemaking that are pending at the agency, we wanted to reinforce the member's concern, and again, urged the agency to do all that can to contain the new regulatory requirements
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triet >> it's being able to get out for the regulations that are plenty from that way. we commend the efforts of the bureau and the general appreciation of the work of the credit unions. we greatly appreciate the time that you've spent with us and your willingness to how we do business and how we can help our members. nonetheless, credit members remain concerned about the per kaj of regulatory actions, and we have had discussions with those and you are very well aware of those. on the part of ceq, when you talk about the interest on become a negative amortization option adjustable, we never did and we never planned to do any of those. so, as we move forward, a lot of what you are suggesting here, we have been doing overtime anyway.
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we just want to make sure there is ample time to make sure that we have it all in place and that works effectively for our members and for all of us that if the congressmen were here, and senator cardin dave mentioned the hearings that were held at the outreach discussions you know the members needed during the financial crisis all they had to do is pick up the phone and call us and we would work through the situation with them. we didn't need to be told what to do in those cases. as a matter of fact we have an outreach program in the newsletter that said talk to us if you are having issues because we will work with you. that's how much we care about our members. last, director cordray, i want to thank you. last night he made a call to cheney to talk to him about this bill, and we really appreciate that call and the cooperation that you have shown as we try to work through all of this. the last thing is the rule will be published this afternoon --
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[inaudible] [laughter] >> we are very helpful triet >> larry hunter. >> joe rodgers,. >> good afternoon. [inaudible] in representing the maryland state naacp and i would like to say on behalf of our membership that the mortgage issue would adversely affect all communities with congressman cummings with a number of workshop hearings around the state and i can't tell you how many stories i can
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relate to you about the horror stories that people experience so we appreciate this first step that you are taking to make improvements in the status quo but while the bright lights are shining and every mehdi is here and everything is well and good this is the first step and we are looking to improve the process as we move forward and i've been advised with other regulatory process these eight there's always holds an offense. there's associations, etc., that are going to find the holes in the fence. let's make sure this isn't like a one time thing over the next two or three years. i would like to mention a couple of other things. one is information. information is power. the naacp and the community organization needs to get this information on the program -- front end, not the back end. my colleague, who i spoke with earlier, made a few comments,
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and one thing i would like to say is there has been a severe breach of trust so to the consumers even if you call them up and reach out to them, they don't trust you to read as we have to rehabilitate the trust back up, but again i want to thank you for this opportunity to speak to me that again, beginning, not an end. >> thank you, mr. brown. we agree with that. robert? reverend gloria -- sorry for my mispronunciation. great. thank you very much. my name is tester laureate jones and by the co-chair of the community's united on the
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commission for persons with disabilities and with the county of prince george maryland and they also want to commend you for the very important first step towards resolving a very egregious problem with regard to predatory lending. i, myself, and the predatory lending survivor. however, i am very concerned as to whether or not the protections built into your effort are adequate enough for people who are particularly vulnerable such as folks like myself who are totally disabled. one of the things i would really like to happen is to get a copy
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of your proposal in some audio form. i do not have a media computer access and unless some god changes his mind i'm not going to be able to read the print today. but one concern that i do have is a safe harbor for the borrowers and i use myself as an example. my predatory linder has been an enthusiastic violation of a modification contract signed in october of 07 for quite a few years to refine paying almost $200 outside the agreed upon some. i have just learned a couple of months ago that my predatory linder is in india and they don't even have a standing office in america. that they have abandoned this country taking my insurance
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coverage with it. i use that as an example, because if i were lone ranger, that would be beyond every just to because the six agreed to us. but i can tell you that there are no lone rangers. there are people whose disability is aged there are people whose disability is lack of information. so, my point of encouragement, the banks always have more protection than we do, and every single hopeful sign when it finally brought them into reality, the bank is there to protect it and in some point we have to arrive in a situation where somebody that is going through the types of experience
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and having come and dine in a discussion with your organization, have somewhere to go and we are totally egregious, predatory, criminal, literally extortionist activity when you're talking about the roof over your head can be adequately addressed. so in the safe harbor concept, we need to see a safe harbor that adequately extends access to sufficient protection over the borrower and down the road we are going to find the fox is back in the henhouse and neighborhoods and families and society will again be experiencing the trauma of a housing shortage. thank you to get